The Israeli Cabinet approved a plan last month to export up to 40 percent of its natural gas resources, marking an important step in the establishment of an export regime to allow Israel to access, and build relations with, neighboring countries, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The Cabinet recommended keeping on-hand a 25-year domestic supply, expected to bring economic benefits to a country that has long been dependent on expensive energy imports. "Thanks to the decisions made [by the Cabinet], every Israeli citizen will enjoy this gift," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Cabinet's decision did not come without controversy, as critics argue either that Israel should retain all of its resources for domestic use or that the percentage of exports was not nearly high enough.
Jordan and Israel are reportedly negotiating a potential energy deal whereby Israel would supply the Hashemite Kingdom with sorely needed natural gas, The Wall Street Journal reported. Jordan has historically relied on Egypt for its energy needs, but two years of unreliable gas deliveries has left Jordan looking for alternatives. Analysts believe that developing the required infrastructure from Israel to Jordan would be relatively simple, inexpensive, and fast. Twenty years after Israel and Jordan officially entered into a peace accord, the deal could significantly tighten relations between the neighbors and help stabilize Jordan.
A major Italian Energy company has entered the Israeli gas market, marking an important advancement in Israel's visibility to global energy developers, The Jerusalem Post reported. Edison International Spa, a Milan-based company, signed an agreement with two Israeli energy companies to explore new underwater gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean. The company will hold a 20 percent stake and act as the official operator of the project. Edison International Spa's entry into the Israeli market follows that of Houston-based Noble Energy and their partner in Leviathan, the Australian giant Woodside Petroleum.
Yossi Levi was head of the state-run Naphtha company when it discovered oil in the Eastern Mediterranean in 1988, but geological factors prevented the oil from being brought to market, The Jerusalem Post reported. Twenty-three years later, Levy has re-entered the Israeli market, becoming CEO of Shemen Oil and Gas Exploration and renewing an investment in oil exploration off the coast of Israel. According to an independent consulting firm, the site on which Shemen is exploring, west of Ashkelon, may contain upwards of 120 million barrels of oil.
Israel's Shikun and Binui Renewable Energy company has teamed up with Spain's solar energy giant Abengoa to build the country's largest concentrating solar power plant in the Negev, Green Prophet reported. The partners signed a 25-year contract to build and operate a 110 MW plant, capable of operating 24/7 regardless of weather conditions. Construction is expected to begin in 2014.