Photo Credit: Ehud Amiton / TPS
Off-shore gas drilling rig Leviathan

The Israeli Ministry of Energy said this week it is expecting record revenues from natural resources in 2020, set to total around 1.5 billion NIS ($440 million).

The Leviathan gas field, which assumed operations in 2019, is expected to increase those revenues.

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In 2019, revenues from natural resources fell to around 864 million NIS ($252 million), down 2.5 percent from 2018, the Ministry of Energy said. The decrease is due to a decrease in the dollar exchange rate of 7.79 percent, according to a Ministry statement.

Of total revenues, 97 percent of natural resource revenue in 2019 was credited to oil and gas sales at NIS 842 million ($246 million).

In January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a deal to build a natural gas pipeline to supply gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to continental Europe.

Netanyahu and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to close the trilateral agreement days after the offshore Leviathan gas rig began pumping gas to Israel.

The deal was signed in Athens by energy ministers of all three countries.

The 1,900 km (1,300 miles) EastMed pipeline on the Mediterranean sea bed from the eastern Mediterranean to western Greece, the world’s longest and deepest, will be able to transfer between nine and 12 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, from gas reserves located between Israel and Cyprus to Greece, and from there to other European countries.

The pipeline will serve as an important alternative source of natural gas for Europe, which currently relies heavily on gas from Russia.

Netanyahu spoke at the signing ceremony, calling the agreement “historic” for the country, as it becomes an energy exporter.

“This is a historic day for Israel because Israel is quickly becoming an energy powerhouse, an energy-exporting country. It is also a historic day because there is growing cooperation here between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel; a real alliance in the Mediterranean, which is both economic and political, and also adds to the security and stability of the region,” he said.

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