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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘offshore natural gas’

Israeli Firm Plans Gas Pipelines to Turkey, other Mideast Nations

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

An Israeli energy company has announced plans to export natural gas via pipelines through Turkey and other countries in the Middle East.

The Delek Group, the parent firm for several energy and gas exploration companies, said in its new prospectus that it plans to export some of the newly discovered natural gas off the Mediterranean cost to Europe via pipelines to Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.

Delek Group is in advanced talks with companies in those countries about buying Israeli gas and building pipelines. The group also has talked about building a liquefied natural gas facility in Israel.

The Israeli Cabinet in June approved a decision to export about 40 percent of the recently discovered reserves while keeping a 25-year supply for the country’s consumption. Revenue from the exported gas is expected to be about $60 billion.

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.”

Dizzy Dollar Dumps the Shekel

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

The shekel-dollar rate has soared 4 percent in the past two weeks, with the latest jump today (Wednesday) prompted by expectations that the Bank of Israel will lower the interest rate again in June.

The rate crossed the level of 3.69 shekels to the dollar on Wednesday after having dropped under 3.55 shekels to the dollar earlier this month.

After Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer announced a plan for a $2 billion buying binge to purchase dollars, the rate jumped towards 3.60 and then moved up again when he sprung a surprise mid-month quarter of a percent cut in the interest rate. The Bank almost always decides at the end of the nth on the interest rate for the following month.

A lower rate makes the shekel less attractive to investors and helps exporters, whose revenue Finance Ministry dollars will be worth more shekels after conversion.

Expectations of another cut to be announced next week caused speculators and investors to dump shekels Wednesday. Analysts are divided on whether the new upward trend of the shekel-dollar rate will continue or if the shekel will regain strength, partly due to plans to export natural gas from offshore discoveries.

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.

IDF to Protect Israeli Gas Fields

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Israel’s new offshore natural gas platforms can turn out to be an easy target for terrorist organizations and so according to Reuters, Israel’s navy, the IDF less frequently mentioned branch, will be seeing a boost in the range of its operations and in its future budgets.

Captain Ilan Lavi, head of the navy’s planning department, told Reuters: “We have to build an entire new defensive envelope. But you can’t have a defense system that costs more to build than the gas itself.”

The Tamar natural gas field, which became operational this week, is located 50 miles west of Haifa, in water that’s 5,600 ft. deep. It was the first large-scale hydrocarbon resource claimed by Israel.

The Leviathan gas field is a much larger field, located 8o miles west of Haifa, in water that’s 4,900 ft. deep. The discovery of that gas field has created the foundation for close collaboration between Israel, Cyprus and Greece.

Estimates are of close to a trillion cubic meters of gas underwater overall, with drilling costs coming to more than $2 billion. A defense system for the platforms (there will be as many as 20) will cost $700 million to build and $100 million to maintain each year, according to Lavi. “We can do it with less, but it means the system will be less adequate,” he said.

The fast patrol boats can reach the platform from Ashdod harbor in 40 minutes, carrying a squad of soldiers armed with M-16 rifles.

The Gaza Strip is at about an equal distance from there, and as the Reuters’ story notes, the same mid-range rockets that hit Tel Aviv last November could be trained on the drilling platforms.

Then there’s the Hezbollah in Lebanon, which sits on an estimated 50 thousand rockets, itching to be launched.

Oil platforms off Nigeria have been hit repeatedly, according to Reuters, and suicide bombers launched coordinated boat attacks on an Iraqi oil export terminal in 2004.

“These incidents illustrate that terrorist organizations have become aware of the potential damage that may be inflicted through attacks on the offshore oil and gas industry,” Assaf Harel, a legal adviser to Israel’s Military Advocate General’s Corps, wrote last year in a Harvard security journal.

The two Israeli gas platforms already employ private security teams, but the scope of their activity is obviously limited to the immediate area. And as the platforms start to be frequented by tankers, an entirely new kind of protection will be called for.

Using the Israeli navy will mean utilizing not just its swift boats, but the IDF intelligence and strategic capabilities as well. As Captain Lavi put it: “We have a response for every scenario.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-to-protect-israeli-gas-fields/2013/04/02/

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