The Israeli government has long focused on countering traditional threats from land and air, but recent geo-political changes now require Jerusalem to develop a strong maritime strategy as well, Reuters reports. Israel’s recent discoveries of natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean present enormous economic and relationship-building opportunities for Israel, but carry with them pressing new security vulnerabilities. Israel is in the process of developing a cohesive naval strategy to counter these new threats and protect its vital energy interests.
Woodside Petroleum, Australia’s largest oil and gas corporation, is committed to participating in the development of Israel’s Leviathan field, Reuters reported. Woodside had agreed to buy a 30 percent stake in Leviathan last December, but uncertainty over the future of Israel’s export policies has spurred rumors that Woodside may be rethinking its decision. Israel’s energy minister, Silvan Shalom, reassured Woodside CEO Peter Coleman that Israel “will do everything to attract foreign companies to operate and invest in Israel and make new discoveries.”
As Israel and Turkey look to repair relations, there may be an opportunity to develop a long-term energy partnership, The Financial Times reported. Israel is examining the commercial potential and political feasibility of natural gas exports to energy-hungry Turkey. "Cooperation in energy between Turkey and Israel could follow an anticipated rapprochement,” said Turkey's energy minister, Taner Yilidz.
The Canadian government has called for research and development proposals under the Canada-Israel Energy Science and Technology Fund (CIEST Fund) that was established last year, Yahoo Finance reported.“These projects will help create jobs, protect the environment and strengthen the economies of both Canada and Israel,” said Canada’s minister of natural resources, Joe Oliver. The minister is travelling to Israel next month to meet with Israeli officials and discuss ways to increase collaboration in the future.
The former chief scientist of Shell, Dr. Harold Vinegar, believes that the company he recently founded has developed technology that will help Israel unlock nearly 250 billion barrels of oil that today resides as kerogen – a precursor to oil – in a large basin in Israel’s Elah Valley, Time reported. The technology to turn kerogen, or “oil shale,” into actual oil has not yet been proven to work, but Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI) believes its method will prove not only environmentally sound but commercially feasible and, if successful, a geopolitical game-changer. The Israeli government is currently examining IEI’s license application for a 3-year pilot project.