Israel has long relied on expensive imports for its domestic energy needs, but vast natural gas reserves that have been discovered off its coast may fundamentally change Israel’s energy future, The Financial Times reported. The discoveries of the Tamar and Leviathan fields in 2009 and 2010 have ensured that Israel will be able to meet its domestic demand for at least the next 25 years. They have also catalyzed far-ranging debates within Israel over the best uses of its new-found resources and how they will impact Israel’s position in the region.
Four collaborative renewable energy projects are set to receive funding for fiscal year 2012 through the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program, which is administered by the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, The Jerusalem Post reported. The program is a cooperative, cost-sharing initiative between the Department of Energy and Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Water that facilitates private sector collaboration in the development of new energy technologies to strengthen U.S. national security. It has been supported by Congress each year since its creation in 2008.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) led a Department of Commerce trade mission to Israel in order to strengthen ties between the countries in the ever-developing energy relationship, The Jerusalem Post reported. Landrieu hailed Israel’s natural gas discoveries as a “game-changer,” and highlighted the significant new opportunities for cooperation between U.S. and Israeli energy entrepreneurs.
Woodside Petroleum, Australia’s biggest oil and gas company, has landed a $1.25 billion contract for a 30 percent stake in Israel’s Leviathan field, The Financial Times reported. The deal could eventually be worth upward of $2.5 billion. Israeli Energy Minister Uzi Landau explained that Israel intends to “continue the entry of giant international corporations into Israel’s energy industry in order to realize the potential buried off the country’s shores.” Woodside’s entrance into the Eastern Mediterranean energy market strikes a blow to Russian and Chinese companies, which placed significant bids for the project.
A new International Energy Agency report found that the United States is expected overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer within the next five years and may even become a net oil exporter by 2030, The New York Times reported. The United States has witnessed an energy revival in recent years, driven by new discoveries and technological advances in addition to new energy efficiencies. Despite the uptick in North American production, experts caution that domestic energy production alone neither fully protects against volatile oil prices set by the global market nor lessens the influence of the OPEC regime.