In March 2013, I noted that Israel’s discovery and development of huge offshore natural gas fields was a game-changer, putting Israel on course to become an energy superpower.

At that time, the field that had just come on line was the Tamar field. I wrote, Yesterday the Middle East changed forever, and you didn’t know it:

Israel now is pumping natural gas from one of the enormous offshore fields which will transform Israel into an energy-independent nation and a global energy powerhouse:

Natural gas from the offshore Tamar field was pumped to Israeli shores for the first time Saturday, four years after its discovery, in preparation for its first use in the Israeli energy market — a move that could transform the Israeli economy.

The Tamar deposit, discovered in 2009 some 90 kilometers west of Haifa, holds an estimated 8.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

On Saturday, hailed an “important day for the Israeli economy” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, natural gas from the field was being pumped to a newly erected facility on the coast of Ashdod, connected to the gas field via pipelines laid out on the ocean floor, 150 kilometers long and 16 inches wide….

Israel’s new offshore fields are enormous, which is part of the reason Turkey has been so belligerent..

Combined with Israel’s under-appreciated status as a Demographic Superpower, Israel’s long-term status is fine.  It just has go get past Syrian WMD and Iranian nukes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAtXJpRHk24

[Image via YouTube]

Hezbollah has threatened to attack Israeli gas platforms, leading Israel to install a sea-based version of Iron Dome, as we reported in 2016, Israel Introduces Sea-Based Iron Dome:

The Tamar field was small change compared to the much larger Leviathan field, as I described in 2015, Israel one step closer to being energy Superpower.

Somehow, The NY Times turned all this into a bad thing, Israel’s Energy Dilemma: More Natural Gas Than It Can Use or Export:

For decades, Israel was an energy-starved country surrounded by hostile, oil-rich neighbors.

Now it has a different problem. Thanks to major offshore discoveries over the last decade, it has more natural gas than it can use or readily export.

The Leviathan development was delayed by bureaucratic snafus and environmental opposition, but just came on line. And this is a big deal.

The Times of Israel reported on December 31, 2019, that natural gas began flowing:

Gas began flowing from the mammoth Leviathan offshore natural gas field on Tuesday, after the government gave a final go-ahead to Noble Energy to forge ahead with the project despite vocal protests from residents of the coastal region who are concerned about the pollution emitted by the rigs.

The Environmental Protection Ministry said Monday that Noble Energy and its partners had met all the necessary conditions to begin pumping gas, paving the way for the rigs to begin extracting the estimated 22 trillion cubic feet of gas trapped underground.

Early Tuesday morning Noble began a gas rig test that is necessary ahead of starting operations, and later that morning the partners in Leviathan announced the start of natural gas production from the reservoir, the largest energy project in Israel’s history.

The first gas will reach Israel’s shores via the pipes within 24 to 48 hours from the start of production, the companies estimated.

But wait, there’s more. Israel also signed a huge natural gas deal with Greece and Cyprus to ship natural gas to Europe, and commenced gas deliveries to Jordan and Egypt

David Markind called it, The other event that rocked the Middle East:

During the last week, earth-shattering events occurred that completely disrupted the Middle East, caused intense anger in certain Arab and Muslim capitals, and threatened war in the region. In other news the Americans assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The non-Soleimani news that rocked the Middle East involved natural gas. On January 2, Greece, Israel and Cyprus signed an agreement to build a pipeline to transport natural gas 1,300 miles from Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean first to Greece, then to Italy, and from Italy into the heart of Europe. Scheduled for completion in 2025, the “EastMed pipeline” ultimately might provide 4% of Europe’s natural gas imports. It also would compete with two pipelines being built by Russia, the NordStream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea to Germany, and the TurkStream project from Russia to Turkey.

Turkey has reacted furiously to the EastMed project. The Turks have threatened that they will block any exploration of that part of the Mediterranean that does not include Turkey….

Meanwhile, the first shipment of Israeli gas from the Leviathan field was delivered to Jordan on New Year’s Day, much to the chagrin of many Jordanians. Jordan has been receiving Israeli gas from the smaller Tamar field since 2017, but the Leviathan gas increases Israeli exports to Jordan dramatically. Jordan’s main political opposition, The Islamic Action Front, called the delivery of Leviathan gas a “black day in the history of Jordan, and a crime against the nation.” …

Jordan wasn’t the only country to receive Israeli natural gas on New Year’s Day. Egypt did as well. Israel and its US partner Noble Energy reached a $15 billion agreement in 2019 to supply 64 billion cubic meters of gas to Egypt.

The pipeline to Europe will take time, and the madman of Turkey is trying to scuttle it, but what already has come on line makes Israel energy independent, with large supply contracts to two of its neighbors, Egypt and Jordan.

So while you were focused on Soleimani, Israel became an energy superpower.

 

 
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