Sunday, December 9, 2007

Israeli Oil and Gas

When thinking of oil and natural gas in the Middle East, the rich fields of Saudi Arabia or Iraq often come to mind, but few in the populace think of Israel as a burgeoning bastion of oil and natural gas reserves. Oil exploration has actually been going on in the Holy Land since the early 1900’s, with first drilling beginning in 1947, once licenses and permissions had been properly acquired. The first oil yield came in 1955 when an original oil well in the Heletz area was deepened, and initially 18 million barrels were extracted; this well is still in production currently. Seven years later, a report prepared by Lewis Weeks, then chief Geologist of Exxon, was released to the Israeli government detailing a preliminary estimate of 500 million to 2 billion barrels of oil lying beneath Israeli soil.

Following the 1967 war in Israel, oil exploration and drilling again became a focus within Israeli borders, primarily on offshore platforms in the Gulf of Suez and in the Sinai region on the mainland, resulting in the finding of significant reserves of oil and natural gas. The 1970’s and 80’s can be seen as a time of expanded on-shore operations, concentrating on the Coastal Plain resulting in live oil recoveries of smaller amounts of show, but no commercial discoveries.

From 1986-1988, the Israeli government put a halt to all drilling and exploration, requesting that a study of exploration data from the last forty years be conducted. The company assigned to this project, Oil Exploration Investment, Ltd., performed a basin analysis of the whole of Israeli lands, outlining all previous exploratory endeavors, yields, etc. The hope of the Israeli government was to locate trends or patterns that would help positively identify true hopes for larger, future discoveries underneath the nation’s soil or bodies of water. Following this survey, Israel opened various areas up to privatized oil and natural gas exploration. By the end of the 1990’s, several large international oil and natural gas companies including British Gas, Enserch, Reading & Bates, and Noble energy set up their operations in several areas, primarily conducting offshore drilling.

The current decade has seen a change of focus from oil to natural gas discovery in Israel. Most of these discoveries have taken place at offshore platforms, and yields of upwards of 3.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been projected. These discoveries could prove quite advantageous for Israel and for its primary ally, the United States.

About the Author: Bob Jent is the president of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties. For more information, visit