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Israel’s natural gas breakthrough could spell huge changes for the future of energy trade, affect Middle East-U.S. oil relationships


Israel begins its largest infrastructure project to date.

When one thinks of the country of Israel,  the natural gas industry is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, in 2010 a natural gas exploration project, headed by Texas-based Noble Energy led to the discovery of two gas fields, Tamar and Leviathan, off Israel’s coast which could contain a total of 736 billion cubic meters of gas – almost enough to power the entire Unites States for a year.

The Levant basin is proving to hold huge natural gas reserves, causing arguments over maritime ownership.

Source: US Energy Information Administration

Tamar, the smaller of the two oil fields, has already begun pumping and exporting to Jordan. The considerably larger Leviathan field is still undergoing exploratory drilling. Thus far the Leviathan is estimated to hold anywhere between 500 and 620 billion cubic meters of gas. Such an enormous offshore hold was bound to be under dispute, and Lebanon has staked a claim on a portion of the Leviathan field. The northernmost area of the Leviathan field falls under long-disputed waters between Israel and Lebanon, but Israel is standing firm in its claim over the stores. In fact, despite potential setbacks Israel continues exploratory drilling of the area and has already begun construction for pumping oil from the Leviathan field.

Lebanon asserts they should own a part of the Leviathan field, but Israel isn't backing down.

Source: Campsmum via Flickr

Israel’s new reserves may spell out a change in world exports.

A long-standing ally of Israel, the potential arises to believe that the U.S. would move imports from its strained Arab nation associates to more stable grounds. In combination with Israel signing contracts for exporting, the Texas-based company Noble Energy is heading the exploration phase. With firm western presence already established, opening up trade channels is the logical step. The United States is already shrinking its oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, along with a number of other countries that stand in precarious political positions.  Severing trade with Arab neighbors would heavily impact the U.S.-Middle East relationships, perhaps widening the rift between the two and assigning Israel as the border wall. The looming question remains, how would their Arab counterparts respond?

  1. http://www.mining.com/web/how-the-us-is-shunning-saudi-oil-imports/
  2. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.774036
  3. http://www.thetower.org/4666oc-with-natural-gas-shipments-to-jordan-israel-becomes-energy-exporter/
  4. http://www.cfr.org/saudi-arabia/us-saudi-relations/p36524
  5. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2017/03/disputed-gas-fields-eastern-mediterranean-170307170904483.html

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