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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘energy’

New Israeli Oil Find near Gaza Could Drive Hamas, Abbas into War

Monday, September 9th, 2013

A new oil discovery in southern Israel might turn out to be the catalyst for an internal and self-destructive war in the Palestinian Authority, with Hamas in Gaza and chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah likely to claim ownership of a new Israeli offshore oil discovery near Ashdod.

When the Tamar and Leviathan gas and oil fields off the Haifa and Hadera coast, in northern Israel, were discovered, Lebanon and Hezbollah quickly claimed that energy reserves were in their territorial waters.

The oil and gas reserves are clearly within Israel’s territorial waters, but the fields could extend as far as the waters off the Lebanese coast.

Lebanon warned the American Noble Energy company not to approach its territory, and Hezbollah it would go to war over the oil and gas fields. Since then, Israel has brought gas into production, and Lebanon and Hezbollah have kept quiet, partly because the United States has mediated by proposing a boundary between Lebanon and Israel’s maritime economic zones.

Now comes the Israeli Shemen Oil and Gas Company which reported on Saturday indications of  “high quality of oil”  following offfshore drilling at its Yam-3 well, 10 miles from the southern port city of Ashdod, located only a few miles north of Gaza.

The drilling reached a depth of 19,000 feet undersea, but the possibility of commercial production awaits further tests.

“This is good news for Shemen but it is still too early to pop the champagne,” Noam Pincu, an analyst at Psagot Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv, told Bloomberg News. “We have to see the results of the production tests to estimate the quantities and quality of oil at the site.”

It still is not clear from the drilling report how thick the reservoir is and how much much oil could be commercially produced. Analysts said it could be only a few barrels a day or it could be several hundred a day, which would bring in millions of dollars.

If the Yam 3 well turns to be commercially viable, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu might be able to relax at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace talks and let Fatah and Hamas knock each other out.

Hamas and its rival Fatah movement likely would be at each other’s throats, literally, to claim that Israel is “stealing” the reserves from them.

Abbas was head of all of the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria as well as Gaza until Hamas completed a bloody military coup six years ago. Abbas dissolved the Fatah-Hams coalition government and declared himself as ruler of Gaza by presidential decree, which Hamas correctly terms as “worthless.”

Abbas and Hamas de facto prime minister Ismail Haniyeh have since failed to carry out several declarations of unity.

All it will take is a few barrels of oil near Gaza’s waters for both leaders to draw their knives and guns for energy reserves that are so close to Gaza that Haniyeh and Abbas can claim that Israel is “stealing” them by drilling diagonally into Gaza waters.

Both Ramallah and Gaza City are in serious trouble financially. Egypt’s new war on terror in the Sinai has choked off the flow of commercial goods through the border at Rafiah, and Abbas is totally dependent on the economically ailing European Union, to stave off bankruptcy.

‘Erdogan Shoots Himself in the Pocket with Anti-Israel View’

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Israel rhetoric is interfering with Turkish-Israeli cooperation that could turn Turkey into a regional energy base to ship Israeli natural gas to Europe.

“Their inability to complete a pipeline deal would hurt Turkish ambitions to become a regional transit center and mean continued dependence on Russia and Iran for gas,” according to Bloomberg News.

Erdogan last week accused Israel of being involved with the military coup that ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi from power in Egypt.

“Rising tensions between the former allies risk the ability of Israel’s Delek Group Ltd. and Turkey’s Zorlu Holding AS to negotiate a pipeline from Israel to Turkey that could feed markets in Europe. While trade has been resilient to the souring of diplomatic ties, building the $2 billion pipeline requires inter-government cooperation for a long-term commercial agreement,” Bloomberg explained.

House Panel Approves $2 million for US-Israel Energy Cooperation

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has allotted $2 million for U.S.-Israel energy cooperation in the fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.

The money in the bill is the latest such appropriation under the 2007 U.S.-Israel Cooperation Act, which created a grant program to support research and development of renewable energy sources.

“Our national security depends on the development of alternative energy,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a lead sponsor of the Act said in a statement. “Funding for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program has already advanced innovative new energy projects.”

Other lawmakers pushing for the allocation included Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).

Greenpeace Infiltration May Have Prevented Terrorist Attack

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Israel can thank Greenpeace activists for unintentionally alerting the country to a security lapse that terrorists could exploit to throw Israel into a blackout by blowing up the site, causing mass casualties and shutting down the electricity grid

Six Greenpeace activists managed to infiltrate Noble Energy’s off-shore gas terminal in the port of Ashdod Monday morning, and the pro-environment group said two of its members roamed freely within the sensitive site for an hour and a half.

They entered the 25-acre site by climbing ladders to bridge the fence around the terminal, setting off the warning system. Globes reported that the activists could have caused a shut-down of electricity to a large area of the country if they had done extensive damage.

The infiltrators were demonstrating their support for energy and opposition to Israel’s reliance on natural gas from the giant offshore energy fields discovered in the past three years off the Mediterranean Coast. Israel now produces more than half of the country’s electricity with natural gas.

Police arrested and then released all six activists, who were dressed up as the sun to show their support for solar energy.

But what if terrorists and not environmentalists had scaled the fence around the terminal?

It would have taken only a small amount of explosives to blow to smithereens the only network that carries gas to the terminal.

Anyone in the area probably would have gone up in smoke during an explosion, which would have severely crippled Israel’s dream of energy independence. Damage to the site would have forced a shut down to electricity in a large part of the country, causing financial and social chaos.

Nobel put on the stiff upper lip after the infiltration and stated, “The Greenpeace activists were handed over to the police. The matter is being investigated with the appropriate parties.”

Natural Gas Magnate Says Gov’t Can Pocket Billions from Exports

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

The government can expect to rake in billions of dollars from natural gas exports in the next 20 years, claimed Yitzchak Tshuva, controlling shareholder of Delek, which is a major partner in the Nobel Energy consortium that has begun pumping gas from its off-shore oil discovery.

Opposing views are trying to prohibit exports, arguing that Israel should make sure it has enough gas for domestic use before exporting.

Tshuva told a business conference on Sunday that it is possible to keep gas reserves for the country while exporting, the Globes business website reported.

“The government should encourage gas exploration deals in Israel, and ensure that more companies, both Israeli and foreign, will enter the industry,” he said. “More companies means more drilling, and Israel will strengthen its position as an important player in the field. It should be remembered that the government’s take from the gas industry, from taxes and royalties has been set at 60%, which means that the Israeli public and the state’s treasury are the main beneficiaries of the industry’s success.”

He also asserted that Israel ill have more “geopolitical power” by virtue of its exporting natural gas.

The Delek-Noble consortium discovered the huge Leviathan energy field in 2010 and it is estimated  to contain 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas

Yigal Landau, CEO of Ratio Oil Exploration, told Israeli radio on Sunday, “The domestic market is small and limited” and that agreements have been closed with other companies have guaranteed a local supply for years.

Bill Clinton Tried to Block Israel’s Taxing Newly-Found Gas

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Former Bill Clinton, the man who unwittingly carried out his promise for a “New Middle East,” worked as a paid lobbyist to pressure Israel against increasing taxes on natural gas from huge off-shore energy fields, former Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed.

Clinton’s wealth is estimated at well over $55 million, making him the richest living president, but no one knows better than him that “enough is never enough,” especially when it comes to “helping” Israel.

One of his most famous “accomplishments” as president was to engineer the signing of the Oslo Accords, with a grinning Yasser Arafat and Yitzchak Rabin at his side on the White House lawn. Clinton promised a “new Middle East,” and we got one when the Oslo Accords literally exploded in Israel’s face in 2002.

Clinton has not given up his version of helping Israel while making pocket money to boot.

Israel has the wonderful problem of figuring out how much to tax the gigantic natural gas pumped from discoveries off the Mediterranean Coast. The energy fields will bring billions of dollars in profits for energy companies, and the government wants a share of the natural wealth.

As Finance Minister, Steinitz proposed raising taxes on companies that developed the natural resources. The energy firms still would be left with envious profits but wanted to stop the tax hike, a reasonable objective for any company.

Clinton’s agreement to be its front-man raises serious questions about the ethics of a former president lobbying a foreign country.

“Pressure [against the tax hike] began from the White House,” Steinitz told the Hebrew language Maariv newspaper.

“The energy companies hired American lobbyists, including former President Bill Clinton, who sent letters and had discussions to dismantle the Shashinsky Commission,” which examined the natural gas issue, “and to stop the tax law.”

“Members of the U.S. Congress asked me for clarifications,” Steinitz said. “We began to feel a sense of pressure, as if we were doing something impeachable to commercial ties between the two countries. I tried to explain that we are among the countries earning the lowest rates from natural gas and petrol, that we get nothing and that the citizens of Israel have as much moral right to profit from public resources as do private companies.”

The Shashinsky recommendations for a tax increase in November 2010, and the pressure decreased, apparently under orders of President Barack Obama.

No one has accused Clinton of doing anything illegal, but the ethics of the former president’s polices and accumulation of wealth following his terms of office deserve examination.

“Between 1997 and 2003 …You went from a period, a regime, where people did have at least some concern about going to jail, to a point where everything is legal. …Looking back I would say that this period definitely started under Clinton,” said Charles Ferguson, whose documentary film Inside Job in 2010 won an Academy Award.

Clinton certainly did not have to lobby against Israel for lack of money.

“I never had any money until I got out of the White House, you know, but I’ve done reasonably well since then,” Clinton has said in an understatement that would be laughable if not true.

“Reasonably well?” Let’s check.

As a lame duck president in December 2000, Clinton signed into law the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, which ensured that derivatives could not be regulated. Two months later, shortly after leaving the White House, Clinton received $125,000 from Morgan Stanley for a speech Clinton he delivered to the company in New York City.  A few weeks later, Credit Suisse also hired Clinton for a speech, at a $125,000 speaking fee, according to the NakedCapitalism.com website.

“It’s not a coincidence that deregulation accelerated in the late 1990s, as Clinton and his whole team began thinking about their post-Presidential prospects,” the site added.

If Clinton was only somewhat rich man before becoming president, he has more than made up for lost change.

In the decade after the end of his second term, he pocketed nearly $10 million for speaking fees. That comes out to a lot more than his hourly wage as president.

And who paid for the privilege of hearing his wisdom?

Citigroup: $250,000; Deutsche Bank, $150,000; Goldman Sachs, $300,000 for two speeches, and that is only three coins in the fountain.

Tshuva: No Shabbat Desecration Occurred

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Yitzchak Tshuva, one of the investors in the Tamar gas field said that no desecration of the Shabbat or Pesach holiday happened with the gas flow, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat.

“Shabbat is the source of our blessing,” Tshuva said. He emphasized that no ceremony was held on Shabbat or the Holiday.

Tshuva said that all the work was being done by Noble Energy, the operating partner in the gas field, and they began the process weeks ago. The gas arrived into Israel on the eve of the last day of Pesach, and that the flow of the gas is an ongoing process which took time until it reached Ashdod.

Yitzchak Tshuva expressed regret that the gas flow’s arrival physically into Israel was being presented as having desecrated the Shabbat or the Pesach Holiday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tshuva-no-shabbat-desecration-occurred/2013/04/05/

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