Israel’s got natural gas. A lot of it. Cleaner burning than coal or bitumen, natural gas has a reputation for being more environmentally friendly. Countries like Qatar have a lot of natural gas and now Israel – with help from the American company Noble Energy – has found enough gas to make it energy independent for decades.
Following previous natural gas finds by Yitzhak Tshuva’s Yam Tethys Energy Exploration Company, as well as those by Texas-based Noble Energy Company in the Tamar gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, the fortunes of Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva now appear to be increasing with the discovery of yet another large undersea gas reservoir.
The new gas find, announced Sunday afternoon on Israel’s Channel 2 news program, is located in the Tanin 1 gas field, just north of the Tamar field, in an area that is is being hotly disputed by both Israel and Lebanon.
Lebanon’s challenge to the validity of gas fields close to its coastline has resulted in it threatening to take its energy rights claims directly to the UN General Assembly.
Israel’s latest gas find is in a location that slants northwest of its northern border frontier with Lebanon (see large yellow area on map above Tamar gas field). Located in an area being claimed by Israel, the gas field is also in an area claimed by Lebanon as being in its sovereign territorial waters.
Israel is also involved in natural gas exploration with the Republic of Cyprus, which is now doing its own gas exploration program that Turkey contests. Turkey, which still occupies the northern third of Cyprus, is very much against these gas explorations and has threatened “serious consequences” if the Republic of Cyprus continues them; especially in cooperation with Israel.
With Iranian oil exports to Turkey and Greece being stymied by increased sanctions , large amounts of undersea natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean is of particular interest to both of these countries, who have been importing oil from the Islamic Republic.
Israel, for its part, is in dire need of natural gas for running electric power plants. Natural gas received by Israel from Egypt has been nearly curtailed by constant acts of sabotage and by Turkey asking Egypt to divert the gas away from Israel.
As the stakes increase so will the political and security risks; especially with both Lebanon and Turkey so diametrically opposed to Israel’s involvement.
Read more on Israel natural gas exploration issues:
Israel, Cyprus and Turkey Near “High Noon” Standoff Over Med’s Natural Gas
Lebanon Challenges Israel’s Natural Gas Borders at Sea
Greek Cyprus Over Offshore Gas Well Drilling
Tshuva’s Yam Tethys Gas Company Wins in Natural Gas While Environment Suffers