The Palestinian Authority is claiming that Israel has no right to use an oil reservoir near the Dead Sea, according to a report posted late Monday night (May 2) on Twitter by Arab affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. The Palestinian Authority claims the area is “under Palestinian sovereignty according to international law.”
Frankly, the argument is total hogwash. The site isn’t even anywhere near the 1949 Armistice Line, also known as the infamous “Green Line.”
The reservoir, worth $321 million, is within the Hatrurim oil and gas exploration license in the Dead Sea area. A report quoted by the Globes business news site states with 100 percent geological certainty that the reservoir could contain between 7 and 11 million barrels of oil.
It is located on a ridge high above the southwestern end of the Dead Sea, in an area called Tzuk Tamrur. The site is not far from the northern Negev city of Arad, which is perched atop the highest ridge that overlooks the southernmost section of the Dead Sea. Tzuk Tamrur is situated halfway down the road that winds down from Arad to Ein Bokek, the area in which all the luxury hotels are located along the southern Israeli shore of the Dead Sea.
The Hatrurim Formation or Mottled Zone is a 36 sq. mile geologic formation with outcrops all around the Dead Sea Basin, including the Negev Desert, the Judaean Desert, and western Jordan. It includes impure limestone along with coal-bearing chalk and marl. The rocks have been subjected to pyrometamorphism resulting from combustion of contained or underlying coal or hydrocarbon deposits. The formation is named for exposures in the Hatrurim Basin which lies west of the Dead Sea.
In 1995 Israel’s Delek Group Ltd. discovered oil after carrying out an initial drilling in the area to a depth of two kilometers. But the firm decided not to pursue further exploration because the price of oil at the time was not high enough to justify the cost of development.
Last December, the Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP was awarded a 25 percent share in the license along with two other Israeli partners. An Israeli geologist also received a share in the license, as did a firm from Cyprus.Hana Levi Julian