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July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘gas’

Israel: The Natural Gas and Start Up Nation

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

1.  “The flow of natural gas from Israel’s Tamar reservoir in the Mediterranean to the Ashdod reception facility was inaugurated on March 30, 2013, ushering in a new era in Israel’s energy sector [led by the Houston-based Noble Energy]. Israel will not only become independent in being able to supply its own energy needs, but it is likely to become an energy exporter as its maritime gas fields are further developed…. The amount of gas discovered offshore now dwarfs any feasible, projected Israeli demand for at least half a century….Israel will become a net exporter of gas….Europe would seem to be the natural export market for Israeli gas….Yet Asia may emerge as Israel’s preferred export destination. The Australian firm, Woodside, which acquired about a third of the rights to the Leviathan field, is oriented toward marketing gas in Asia, and envisions building a liquefaction plant to service that trade….Israel will view with apprehension any scheme to anchor its critical infrastructure in countries beyond its own borders, such as Jordan, Cyprus, or Turkey….” (Dr. David Wurmser, April 4, 2013).

2. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is the second largest investor – trailing Intel – in Israel’s information technology sector, with 6,000 employees.  HP’s Israel-developed products carry the Indigo and Scitetx Vision brands (Southeast-Israel Business News, March, 2013).

3.  The Chicago-based AllScripts acquired Israel’s dbMotion for $235MN (Globes Business Daily, March 6, 2013).

4.   The globe’s largest biotech company, Roche of Basel, Switzerland, concluded a joint venture with Israel’s Chiasma, developing and commercializing Chiasma’s Octreolin for acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumors. Roche received a worldwide exclusive license in return for an upfront payment of $65MN and additional $530MN in milestones and royalties (Globes, February 19).

5.  Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) and Israel’s Amdocs are establishing a joint development center in Israel.  Amdocs operates a similar center with AT&T.  SingTel intends to invest in a few Israeli start-ups, following its acquisition – in March 2012 – of Israel’s Amobee for $321MN (Globes, March 4).  Germany’s global optical giant, Zeiss, is establishing a research and development center in Israel.  Five years ago, it acquired Israel’s Pixer (Yedioth Achronot daily, April 4).  Michael Dell’s MSD Capital invested $22MN in Israel’s food chain, Rami Levy, increasing its holding to 6.1%.  The Boston-based Fidelity acquired 5% of Rami Levy for $27MN (Globes, March 29 and April 8).

6.  Hong Kong’s investment mogul, Li Ka Shing’s Horizon Ventures, led an$ 8MN round of private placement by Israel’s Nipendo (Globes, March 12).  The Waltham, MA-based Battery Ventures – joined by the Menlo Park, CA-based Opus Capital – led a $10MN second round by Israel’s SiSense (Globes, April 4). The Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital – joined by T-Mobile – led an $11MN round by Israel’s Innovid (Globes, March 8).  Israel’s StarCom raised $4MN at the London  Stock Exchange for smaller companies, AIM (March 6).

Visit The Ettinger Report.

Moses’ Gift: Natural Gas in the Mediterranean

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Golda Meir once quipped that Moses could have done the Jewish people a better service. “He took us 40 years through the desert,” she said, “to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil.”

Today, Golda Meir’s quip has lost its punch. Last week, natural gas began flowing out of the Tamar gas field, discovered off the coast of Israel in January 2009. Tamar and Leviathan, its neighboring gas field, discovered in June 2010, are among the world’s largest recent offshore natural gas discoveries. The Israeli companies controlling the fields are even considering exporting gas to neighboring countries.

Geologists assume that commercial oil reserves may lie beneath the gas find. Some analysts say that the Tamar and Leviathan fields might change Israel’s position in the geopolitical and energy world. But not just Israel’s.

The Israeli fields are adjacent to the Aphrodite gas field, discovered in December 2011, which lies in Cypriot territorial waters, less than 25 miles west of Leviathan. The government in Nicosia expects that the result of offshore drillings will confirm later this year that the island is sitting on vast amounts of natural gas worth billions of dollars. The recent banking crisis in Cyprus –the latest episode in the saga of the collapsing euro – came too early for the country to benefit from its future natural gas wealth. It is, however, indicative that Cyprus turned down the European Union’s demands that the gas reserves be used as collateral for the loans which the E.U. has just extended to Cyprus.

Brussels had demanded that a fund be created in which it was given a direct say over the revenues from Cypriot gas reserves, but Nicosia refused to do so. The Cypriots feel betrayed by the E.U. Hence, they are not inclined to let Europe share in the future wealth which they hope to derive from gas. Nicos Anastasiades, the president of Cyprus, said that Cyprus had no other choice than give in to the harsh demand of Brussels that it dismantle its banking sector. He, however, promised that savers who lost money in the Cypriotic banks would be compensated by being given shares in banks guaranteed by the future natural gas revenues.

Today, Cyprus is paying a very heavy price for its membership of the E.U.’s common currency, the euro. When by 2019 the gas proceeds are expected to start flowing, the tables will be turned. Then Cyprus will be in a position to leave the euro without facing the prospect of national bankruptcy.

To begin extracting the gas from the Aphrodite field by 2019, however, the virtually bankrupt Cypriot government will in the coming years need to make enormous investments. The Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom, the largest extractor of natural gas in the world, seems keen to get involved. So far, however, the Cypriots have kept the Russians at bay.

Europe is already to a large extent dependent on Russian gas, supplied by Gazprom, a company controlled by the Russian oligarchy around President Putin. A quarter of Europe’s of Europe’s entire gas consumption comes from Gazprom. As a new player in the market of gas exporters, Cyprus could reduce the European dependency on Russian gas.

What applies to Cyprus, obviously, applies to Israel as well. It, too, could use its gas exports to a political end. Bat Ye’or has argued that the pro-Palestinian positions of the European governments since the 1970s were to a large extent the result of Europe’s dependency on Arab oil. Israel has a unique chance of also using the Cypriot gas to its own geostrategic benefit. The Cypriot gas fields are located halfway between the Cypriot and Israeli coast. Israel, Cyprus and Greece are already collaborating in the EuroAsia Interconnector project, which is an undersea power cable linking Israel with Cyprus and Cyprus with Greece. A gas pipeline following the same route would balance the current pipeline on the Baltic seabed linking Russia with Germany.

Another opportunity for Israel might be the fact that some international gas companies are reluctant to get involved in the exploitation of Cypriot gas fields because they also operate in Turkey and do not want to upset the Turkish authorities who oppose the Cypriot gas extraction. Though the Aphrodite gas field lies in waters across Southern Cyprus, Turkey is demanding that all gas revenues be shared with Turkish occupied Northern Cyprus.

Fischer Launches New War on Shekel-Dollar Rate

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer launched a new war on the falling shekel-dollar rate Monday and ordered the purchase of $100 million of greenbacks, soon after the rate dropped close to 3.59 shekels to the dollar for the first time in nearly two years.

The massive purchase catapulted the rate from the 18-month low of 3.592 to 3.62 in only a few minutes.

The shekel has strengthened this year, receiving recent support from expectations of positive fallout from the beginning of the flow of Israeli natural off-shore gas.

A strong shekel is great news for consumers buying items imported from the United States, but it sends shivers through Israeli companies with revenues in dollars. After converting income to shekels, the firms are left with less money, and their executives are constantly pressuring the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Israel to take measures to raise the currency rate.

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.

How Israel Should Use Its New Found Energy Wealth

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

On the one hand, Israel is on the verge of a positive development whose importance is hard to underplay. As Caroline Glick described it,

This weekend Israel reportedly conducted its first successful test pumping of natural gas from the offshore Leviathan natural gas field. In the next four years, Israel will become a major natural gas exporter and will make great strides in developing its recently discovered shale oil deposits. Israel’s emergence as an energy exporter will have a transformational impact on Israel’s economic independence and long-term viability. [my emphasis]

But on the other hand, the security challenges Israel faces today from Iran, Hizballah, Egypt, Hamas, etc. have never been greater. The international delegitimization campaign against it, led by the U.N. and financed to a great extent by the European Union continues to gather steam. Jew-hatred and anti-Zionism have merged, with the former gaining cover from the latter, creating the least favorable social climate for the Jewish people since WWII. Academia is almost universally hostile, and Israel (and Jewish students) are attacked more viciously on college campuses than ever.

So how can Israel’s new energy resources be given a “transformational impact” on these problems? Here are a few ideas:

First, Israel should make mutually beneficial agreements with the major transnational energy companies. It should be made clear that these deals are contingent on their support for Israel’s political goals. It certainly worked for the Arabs — I remember Exxon Corporation publicly calling for a more “even-handed” approach to the Middle East immediately after the war in 1973. I have often speculated that the influence of these companies has been responsible for the irrational but unswerving U.S. policy to try to reverse the outcome of the 1967 war.

Second, Israel should give generous gifts of its soon-to-be-available gas and oil dollars to major universities in Europe and the U.S., to establish departments of Jewish and Israel studies. These departments should be staffed by academics who do not hate Israel and the Jewish people (I’m sure they can be found, especially when there are endowed chairs for them to sit in).

Third, Israel should build a massive satellite TV/radio/Internet channel, broadcasting in multiple languages to all parts of the world. This channel should present entertainment, news and cultural programming attractive to as wide a range of viewers/listeners as possible. Again, media people who who have positive attitudes will appear when the opportunities for employment do.

Fourth, Israel should create independent think-tanks and scientific institutes in major democratic countries which will produce papers and articles — academic and popular — on important topics. Some proportion of the jobs in these institutes should be reserved for retired politicians.

Fifth, Israel should award international prizes for achievement in scientific and cultural fields.

Sixth, Israel should establish an institute for technical training where promising students from developing nations can come and study at no cost.

And seventh, despite all this, Israel must maintain and improve its military capabilities to deter aggression and terrorism.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

‘Quick Peace’ Losing Ground as US Gas and Oil Surpass Arab Production

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Geologists have discovered a layer of shale saturated with natural gas and oil deep beneath the city of Williston, North Dakota, and the Bakken formation, spanning thousands of square kilometers, has become synonymous with an American economic miracle the country hasn’t experienced since the oil rush of 100 years ago, Spiegel reported Friday.

North Dakota now enjoys full employment, and the state budget shows an estimated surplus of $1.6 billion in 2012. Local truck drivers, for example, are earning $100,000 a year. President Obama has called the discovery of Bakken and other shale gas formations in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Utah a “stroke of luck,” saying: “We have a hundred years’ worth of energy right beneath our feet.”

According to Fortune magazine, low natural gas prices – natural gas in the United States now costs a quarter of what it did in 2008 – could fuel a comeback of American industry. “Low-cost natural gas is the elixir, the sweetness, the juice, the Viagra,” an American industry representative told Fortune.. “What it’s doing is changing the U.S. back into the industrial power of the day.”

According to Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) study, the political threat potential of oil producers like Iran will decline. In about 15 years, optimists predict, the U.S. will no longer have to send its aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf to guarantee that oil tankers can pass safely through the Strait of Hormuz.

No one knows what would happen with the Russians, since President Putin’s power is founded on oil and gas revenues. If energy prices decline and Russian revenues go down as a result, Putin could be expected to revert to old Soviet methods of maintaining power, both at home and abroad.

The Arab regimes in the Middle East would have to either use their enormous cash reserves to invest in new products and services (see Qatar’s and Bahrain’s efforts to develop a thriving tourism industry), or slip gently into their former role in world politics, amid the sands of Arabia.

According to Spiegel, German chemical giant BASF has already invested a lot of money in the United States in the last two years. In Louisiana, it has built new plants for the production of methyl amines and formic acid. “The local natural gas price is a criterion that affects the question of where we invest in new production facilities,” says BASF Executive Board member Harald Schwager. At the moment, the United States has a clear advantage over Europe in this regard.”

Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA summed this up:

#1. In a few years the US won’t be as concerned about what the Arab think. #2. In a few years the Chinese won’t consider energy supplies from the Arab world as being of paramount importance for its own continued stable growth. #3. In a few years even France and Germany may become energy sources rather than importers.

Certainly sounds like Israel will be in a considerably more favorable position at that time.

So much for the argument that Israel should rush now and cut a lousy deal
with the Palestinians because “time is not on Israel’s side.”

US: Syrian Chem Weapons ‘Locked and Loaded’ on Rockets

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

According to several American television networks, U.S. officials have revealed that the Syrian military is just waiting for the “go” order from the embattled President Bashar Al-Assad.  When Assad’s order comes, aerial warheads which some say have already been locked and loaded with deadly sarin gas will be dropped on the Syrian opposition from dozens of fighter bombers.

Sarin, a colorless and odorless gas, is one of the most lethal chemical weapons.  It is capable of killing thousands of people across a wide swath of land. The gas paralyzes the central nervous system; victims suffocate because their lungs are paralyzed.  Just one drop of sarin can kill a person within minutes.

Speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, December 5, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said,”Ultimately, what we should be thinking about is a political transition in Syria and one that should start as soon as possible.”  She added, “we believe their fall is inevitable. It is just a question of how many people have to die before that occurs.”

Nearly 40,000 have died in the civil war in the 18 month-long Syrian civil war, and 400,000 have fled as refugees.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-syrian-chem-weapons-locked-and-loaded-on-rockets/2012/12/06/

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