The Energy Ministry has tripled its estimate of the volume of still-undiscovered natural gas in Israeli waters.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, has been presenting to international energy companies the new assessment of a potential 2,100 billion cubic meters (BCMs) of natural gas, in contrast to the 680 BCMs that the Tzemach Committee relied on to examine the government's policy regarding the natural gas market. The Tamar and Leviathan gas fields have already yielded 750-950 BCM of natural gas.
The ministry based its new assessment on a report prepared by French consulting firm BeicipFranlab. It found that the seabed has four relevant layers that potentially contain geological structures that could contain gas. According to the report, the potential amount of petroleum is estimated at 6.6 billion barrels.
After years in which the search for gas and oil was essentially frozen, mainly because of regulatory delays, the Ministry of Energy now hopes that – if the High Court of Justice does not interfere – the endeavor can be restarted.
Armed with these new figures, Steinitz has been attempting at an international conference held in Houston, Texas to convince companies to come search for oil and gas in Israel. A likely obstacle in this effort will be the decline in oil and gas prices worldwide and the problems this has caused for many fuel companies. The report's data also appear in an official promotional flyer that the representatives of the Ministries of Energy and Finance presented at the conference.
BecipFranlab believes that the territorial waters of Israel have four layers with the potential for finding oil or gas deposits. It estimates that the deeper layer, where the Tamar and Leviathan fields were found, has the potential forabout 480 BCM of natural gas, while shallower layers could contain about 1,640 BCM of gas. This assessment is based on a re-examination of existing seismic maps and new models.
The numbers are based on an estimate believed to have a likelihood of 50 percent.