a different side of Israel

Tag: Natural Gas

Protect the Levant in Case Egypt Flakes on Oil

IAF drones are reportedly patrolling the vast blue above the country’s gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea on charge of security concerns, citing Hezbollah. Lebanon has been complaining in a world forum about the Leviathan (16 trillion cubic feet) and Tamar (estimated 8.7 trillion cubic feet) oil wells, of the enormous Levant Basin Province. Together, the two Israeli sites are twice as big as the British fields in the North Sea, with an estimated value of $300 billion, enough gas for 50-70 years of domestic consumption.

It should be noted that recently Cyprus, inspired by Israel’s discovery, started looking for oil off of their shores, however, Turkey threatened Cyprus over these actions. Ahmet Davutoglu a senior Turkish official said that they would show the “necessary response” if the country goes ahead with the marine oil dig. For years, Cyprus and Turkey have been in dispute over who owns the northern region of Cyprus, with the Turkish government claiming the region as theirs and threatening military action time and again.

Because Israel and Lebanon have no maritime border, Lebanon claims the Levant Basin as its own. The Hezbollah, which constitutes much of the Lebanese military, despite contrary claims has threatened to use force to protect the natural wealth it insists belong to Lebanon. Hopefully it would not result in a situation like the Israel-Lebanon War of 2006.

Hassan Nasrallah said:

“We warn Israel not to touch this area or try to steal Lebanon’s resources…Those who harm our installations will have their own installations harmed,” he said.

Israel says it would use force to defend its gas fields should an attack by Hezbollah happen.

Usually, countries negotiate their maritime border, as did Israel and Cyprus, several months ago.

Because the Arab League refuses to supply gas to Israel, the Jewish Country, who imports coal, mainly from South Africa, is starving for fossil fuels. Egypt is the only nation which supplies gas to the Jewish Country, but in a post-Mubarak situation this is a fragile reality. The Arab gas line supplies Egyptian gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and a separate feed for Israel

When the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt went down last spring, Israel began to sweat. On February 5th, an explosion happened near the El Arish compressor station which supplies Israel and Jordan, and as a result, the supply was temporarily halted.

On April 27 an explosion at the pipeline near Al-Sabil village in the El-Arish region once again halted natural gas supplies to Israel and Jordan. And on July 4th, an explosion near Nagah, in the Sinai Peninsula halted gas to Jordan and the Jewish Country once again. These incidents are behind a failed attempt to blow up a pipeline supplying the Jewish Country, last March.

Lebanon Complains to UN about Gas Find

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.”

A Pipe Between Us

Druze protesters from the Mount Carmel area clashed with the police near Yokneam on Tuesday. The demonstrators were against the laying of a natural gas pipeline on lands once belonging to them. Highway 70 in the direction of Yokneam from the north was also blocked.

“A quiet procession was agreed upon, but they began to disrupt the works, and went down to protest on the road”

Complained Northern District Chief Superintendent Yehuda Maman.

Several officers were injured and two Druze protesters were detained. Immediately, the protests were of no avail, as hundreds of officers continued to oversee the project and secured the surrounding roads.

The work was recommenced three months ago – about two years after work was brought to a halt following these very disagreements of ownership. The Israel Lands Administration made the decision to restart the work and also determined the level of compensation for the Druze inhabitants.

Fahmi Halabi, chairman of the Druze land association said:

“We are against violence…We will try to do everything to prevent this from becoming violent, but we don’t have the power to control everything, and we ask the government to reach an agreement with us soon.”

Intended to supply natural gas to the power station in Haifa and many factories in the area, the pipeline will pass between Dor Beach and Haifa Bay. So far, the pipeline has been laid between Dor Beach and Yokneam, and between Ha’emaqim Junction and Haifa. The work on the 11.5 km (7 miles) that is still remaining is expected to be completed within a matter of months.

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