Israel moves to reinvigorate offshore exploration activity

The government of Israel has approved the delineation of new offshore oil and gas exploration sites to be offered to international oil and gas community.

According to Israel’s energy ministry, a recommendation to open Israel’s waters to exploration was reached after 4 years during which the sea was closed for drilling, and following the direction of the Minister of Energy to renew exploration activity within Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

According to the recommendation of the petroleum council to the Ministry of Energy, the initial stage will include the marketing of 24 blocks in an international competitive process that calls oil and gas companies to take part in Israel’s first bid round and the renewed explorations of natural gas and oil in Israel’s economic zone.

The petroleum council chose 24 blocks as to which the seismic and geological data indicate a high potential for promising geological structures. The size of each block is no more than 400 sq.km, and some are adjacent to the substantial deep water gas discoveries in Israel’s EEZ, such as Leviathan and Tamar fields.

The council’s recommendation was based on an independent study recently carried out for the Ministry by an international consulting company that determined there is a potential equivalent to 6.6 billion oil barrels and about 2,137 cubic meters of natural gas yet to be found offshore Israel (YTF in Place, Best Guess P50). Seismic data and additional drilling data will be available to companies interested in examining the potential of the licensing areas, the energy ministry said.

The Minister of Energy, Dr. Yuval Steinitz, said: “The recommendation of the council regarding the exploration of natural gas and oil sites in Israel’s EEZ is a significant and essential step for the development of the Israeli gas market. This move is paramount and, we anticipate, shall encourage international petroleum companies to invest in Israel’s natural gas market.”

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