Ever since the news broke a few years back that natural gas exploration companies, headed by entrepreneurs like Yitzhak Tshuva had located large deposits of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean, the race has been on to finally bring this “less polluting” energy source to the Israel mainland. This continuing effort was spurred even more by the continued sabotage of the natural gas pipeline from Egypt to both Israel and Jordan; upon which both countries, especially Israel, have depended on to supply a portion of vital energy needs.
In addition to all the issues involved in both drilling and extracting natural gas from deposits underneath the Mediterranean sea bed, including environmental reservations by neighboring countries such as Cyprus, bringing the extracted gas to Israel’s mainland includes building a special undersea pipeline to convey the gas to the mainland despite the dangers of both sabotage and terrorism by group like Hezbollah, Hamas and even Al Qaeda.
More recent news regarding these gas issues includes an estimation reported in Bloomberg Businessweek that the amount of natural gas deposits in these submerged gas fields as enough to satisfy Israel’s energy needs for at least 150 years.
But finding the gas deposits is one thing; extracting it and bringing it ashore is something else altogether. Gas exploration and drilling companies, such as Houston, Texas based Noble Energy Company, have not found it easy to deal with both the Israeli government’s extensive bureaucracy (including demanding a large share of potential profits in the form of taxes) as well as finding ways to sell amounts of gas not needed by Israel to foreign buyers.
Another important issue involves the logistical aspects of conveying some of the gas after it has been converted to liquified natural gas (LNG) that can then be conveyed in specially designed ocean tankers.
LNG has already proven itself to be capable of being an important fuel for both cars and other vehicles and is now being used as such in the USA and other countries. Floating LNG storage tanks as well as marine vessels carrying the highly flammable fuel are high risk targets for terrorism groups such as the ones previously mentioned.
The gas drilling platforms themselves are also high risk terror targets; and due to the extreme drilling depth required to reach the gas deposits, memories of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are still very fresh on many peoples minds.
More articles on natural gas issues in the eastern Mediterranean:
An Israel Alone Dependent on Natural Gas
Israel Readies Offshore Natural Gas Pipeline
Greek Cyprus Fearful Over Offshore Gas Well Drilling
Sabotaged Egyptian Gas Pipeline to Israel Shifts Attention Offshore
Tshuva’s Yam Tethy’s Gas Company Wins Big in Natural Gas, But the Environment Loses
Image of natural gas burner from Shutterstock