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Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has been presenting global energy companies with brand new data regarding the estimated natural gas reserves in Israel’s offshore fields which is three times bigger than previous estimates — 2,100 billion cubic meters (BCM), as opposed to the initial 680 BCM estimate provided by a government commission to examine gas-related policy.

The Energy Ministry based its revised estimate on a new report it ordered from BeicipFranlab, a leading French independent petroleum and natural gas consultancy firm. The report discovered four additional subterranean layers at the bottom of the sea around the Israeli fields which may potentially contain gas and even oil.


Of course, one must pay close attention to the term “potential” in the French report, and recall past decades during which Israel invested millions both offshore and on land, only to come up with rich deposits of putrid air.

According to Ynet, there’s a way to tell just how seriously the Energy Ministry is taking its own revised data: the prospectus that’s being handed out to interested exploration outfits promises that between 50% and 100% of the new deposits to be discovered could be exported. Now, the same government commission that set the initial estimate of those gas fields also recommended limiting exports to only 50%. The fact that the ministry is ready to let as much of 100% of a given new field be lavished on strangers suggests they expect those fields to be, well, humble in terms of their size, too small to even justify going through the rigorous process that almost torpedoed the current exploitation deal—and may still bring it down.

So, in summation, let’s just say Minister Steinitz is very hopeful, and that his optimism could be infectious, but time will tell whether those rich deposits will yield gas or just hot air.

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