With an excess of 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered since 2009, Israel now enjoys historic opportunities to produce domestic, affordable, and secure energy.
As a result, Israel, like many countries around the world, is encouraging a transition to natural gas as the primary energy source, with the many advantages it offers the consumer, the economy, and the environment: reduced cost of electricity generation and of industrial products, less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, greater market competition and promotion of exports, strengthening of Israel’s economy, etc.
Use of natural gas started in Israel in 2004, mainly by the Israel Electric Corporation and by very large industrial plants. The Israeli government is taking steps to promote the distribution of natural gas to smaller consumers as well. Over the next few years, low-pressure natural gas infrastructures will be developed, which will make it a readily available and accessible source of energy for small industrial plants and for businesses such as hotels, launderettes, restaurants, etc.
In June 1999, the Tethys Sea Partnership discovered offshore the coastal town of Ashkelon the first large natural gas reservoir in Israel – the “Noa” field. In February 2000, an additional reservoir was found at the “MaryB” field, which contained at the time of discovery an estimated 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas and began commercial gas production in 2004. Most of the gas is currently used by the Israel Electric Company to operate some of its power plants, which were converted from fuel oil to natural gas utilization.
Natural gas exploration efforts accelerated following the initial discoveries. The natural gas and petroleum exploration market began seeing interest by large investors in Israel and abroad, who initiated marine seismic surveys using innovative technologies.
In January 2009, the Noble Energy Partnership – Avner, Delek Drillings, Israemco and Dor – found a large natural gas reservoir in the “Tamar 1” drill site, approximately 56 miles off the coast of Haifa. The Tamar structure contains an estimated 10 trillion cubic feet of gas, a quantity which can provide for Israel’s energy consumption for many years.
In March 2009, the same partnership discovered a natural gas reservoir at the “Dalit 1” drill site, approximately 37 miles off the coast of Hadera, with an estimated 5 trillion cubic feet of gas.
In June 2010 Delek Drillings, Avner, and Ratzio Partnership announced that there is a high chance of locating large natural gas quantities in the “Leviathan” structure, which is jointly licensed to Delek Group, Ratzio Company, and Noble Energy Company. The Leviathan-1 well contains an estimated 18 trillion cubic feet of gas.
The offshore natural gas fields were discovered in intermediate to deep water depths: “Mary B” is 820 feet below sea, “Tamar” – 5,905 feet, and Dalit – 4,920 feet.
Thanks to these discoveries, Israel has become a nation capable of providing for a substantial portion of its energy consumption without dependence on external sources.