Israel confirms major gas find off Haifa

A gas field offshore from Israel holds an estimated 450 billion cubic metres (16 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, Noble Energy said on Wednesday.

Israel confirms major gas find off Haifa

A gas field offshore from Israel holds an estimated 450 billion cubic metres (16 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, Noble Energy said on Wednesday.

Texas-based Noble Energy and its Israeli exploration partners described on Wednesday the Leviathan prospect -- 130 km (80 miles) off the Mediterranean port of Haifa -- as the world's biggest gas find in the past decade.

Leviathan is estimated to have 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic metres) of gas. Tamar, a nearby site being drilled by Noble and Israel's Delek Energy, was the largest gas find in the world in 2009, at 8.4 trillion cubic feet.

"A world power", read a headline in Israel's mass circulation Maariv newspaper, describing its new energy muscle.

But the experts pointed to a world glut in natural gas, and noted that, unlike oil which is sold on global markets, gas is geographic and needs a specific buyer.

"It's not a great time for Israel to enter a lot of the markets," said Brenda Shaffer, an energy expert at the University of Haifa. "European consumption is going down, new suppliers are coming on. I'm not sure there's a buyer waiting by the door at this point."

Shaffer noted larger amounts have been discovered onshore, where it is also cheaper to produce than in deep water.

Production from Tamar is slated to begin in 2013 and it is being targeted for local consumption. Leviathan, its developers said, won't be ready until 2017.

The Leviathan find raises the chances of other major discoveries in the region -- off the shores of Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt and the Palestinian territories.

The Israeli partners have talked of exporting through a pipeline or as liquefied natural gas. Shaffer said the chances of the gas being sold to Europe were small and probably the most viable option would be using existing LNG facilities in Egypt.

"Asian markets are growing in LNG imports but Israel would have to compete with Qatar, Russia and Australia, which are already producing LNG," she said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2010, 11:32
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