Oil find could revolutionise Israeli energy
THE DISCOVERY of huge oil reserves in Israel could transform the country’s energy policy, turning it into a massproducer of billions of barrels of oil.
The Israeli subsidiary of an American company made a significant breakthrough in the Golan Heights, close to the border with Syria, last week — leading experts to label the find as “gamechanging”.
Further exploration will reveal whether the oilfields could revolutionise Israel’s energy market, making it self-sufficient and reshaping its relationship with Arab neighbours.
The country’s consumers use 270,000 barrels of oil each day, but experts said the size of the find could potentially cover that demand. The reserves are said to be around 10 times the size of the average find.
The potential cost of removing the oil has not yet been calculated. The quality of the oil and exact quantity will not be known until extraction begins.
Yuval Bartov, chief geologist of Afek Oil and Gas, a branch of US firm Genie Energy, told Israel media that its discovery was “significant” and had caused “enormous excitement”.
Genie saw shares rise by almost 20 per cent in New York after news of the discovery broke. The company’s chief executive and chairman, Howard Jones, said he was “optimistic” that the potential benefits of the find could be maximised.
But some energy experts were sceptical. Previous oil fields discovered in central Israel failed to live up to expectations once extraction work started.
There could also be legal complications. Environmental groups have complained about the impact of the drilling and took their case to Israel’s highest courts.