Friday, February 3, 2017

Israel made NIS 3B in natural gas royalties in 2016, minister says - ISRAEL HAYOM

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, Thursday
Friday February 3, 2017Shlomo Cesana

  • A delegation from the Turkish Energy Ministry is expected to visit Israel next week for talks on a joint pipeline project, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz says
  • Israel is pursuing a similar venture with Italy, in a project involving Greece and Cyprus.

Israel's royalties from the production of natural gas came to 3 billion shekels ($798 billion) in 2016, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Thursday, during a media tour aboard the Atwood Advantage, an ultra-deepwater drill ship exploring the Tamar offshore gas field.

Atwood Advantage is one of the three largest vessels of its kind in the world. It is expected to finish its work in Tamar by April 2017 and move on to the development of the nearby Leviathan offshore gas field.

Tamar, discovered some 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the Haifa coast in 2009, is believed to have reserves of up to 8.4 trillion cubic feet. Leviathan, discovered in 2010 roughly 130 kilometers (81 miles) from the Haifa coast, holds an estimated 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

A delegation from the Turkish Energy Ministry is expected to visit Israel next week for talks about a joint gas pipeline that would pump gas from Israel to Turkey and Europe.

This will be the third meeting between Israel and Turkish energy officials on the matter, and Steinitz described it as a sign of seriousness about promoting the joint project.

He said Israel is also pursuing a similar pipeline venture with Italy, in a project that would involve Greece and Cyprus.

Israel "will export surplus gas to the regions but also to Europe," Steinitz said.

"This is a tremendous diplomatic boost and, of course, will lead to huge profits for the Israeli public in the future.

"The energy ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Italy have agreed to hold a summit in Israel, with the support of the EU, to discuss building the longest underwater pipeline in the world, which would transfer gas from the reservoirs [off the Israeli coast] to Italy and from there to Germany, Austria and other countries. Our goal is to provide 10% of the European energy market."

According to Steinitz, Israel's energy market currently consists of 60% gas and 40% coal. He said the goal is to reach a balance of 90% gas and 10% coal within a few years, which would also significantly improve air quality in Israel.