News of the newly found Leviathan gas field has increased tensions between Israel’s two neighboring countries, Syria and Lebanon, which do not have formal maritime borders.
Last Tuesday, Lebanon’s foreign minister, Ali Shami, petitioned the United Nations to curb Israel’s offshore drilling plans. The request came days after US firm, Noble Energy Inc., announced they discovered a rather large oil field off the Jewish state’s coastline.
The letter read as follows:
“We request you do everything possible to ensure Israel does not exploit Lebanon’s hydrocarbon resources, which fall within Lebanon’s economic zone as delineated in the maps the foreign ministry submitted to the United Nations in 2010. Any exploitation by Israel of this resource is a flagrant violation of international law and an attack on Lebanese sovereignty.”
The Leviathan gas field, off of Israel’s Mediterranean shore, namely the scenic Haifa coast, holds an estimated 450 billion cubic meters – that is16 trillion cubic feet – of natural gas. The site is thought to be twice the size of the Tamar prospect, the largest oil discovery of 2009. Noble Energy Inc. said the find could turn Israel into a gas exporter in the coming few years.
On Thursday,Yitzhak Tshuva, controlling shareholder of Delek Group (Delek Drilling LP), a partner in the Leviathan natural-gas find through its subsidiaries, Avner Oil and Gas LP (who hold 22.67 percent of shares, respectively) said, “Today is a day of celebration for all of us. The State of Israel is an energy independent country.”