Israel finds $240B gas hoard stranded by politics
Israel, reliant on imported energy since the state's foundation in 1948, now has more natural gas than it can handle, Bloomberg reports. Noble Energy Inc., Delek Group Ltd. and other explorers have discovered enough gas under the Mediterranean Sea to supply Israel's needs for 150 years. To profit from the finds sooner, the companies want to export the gas by pipeline or ship. As the Ministry of Energy prepares to publish a blueprint for developing the fields later this month, officials say the country's economy and security must come first and that shipments abroad should be limited. Exporting natural gas presents challenges. Environmental opposition and a shortage of land complicate building a plant to liquefy the fuel for export, while an offshore facility or pipelines to nearby countries will be hard to protect. Tapping all of Israel's discoveries, which include Leviathan, a single field holding more gas than Middle East exporter Yemen has in reserves, may prove uneconomic without exports. "I'd be surprised if some of the gas in Israel isn't stranded," says Nick Maden, a senior vice president for international exploration at Statoil, which has been examining the region's potential. This is "the play that most companies will be trying to follow," and there has "been more gas discovered than you can commercialize." Read the full story here.
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