Israel awarded the first license to drill for oil on the Golan Heights, local media reported Thursday. A New Jersey-based company was awarded the license, covering half the area of the Golan from the latitude of Katzrin in the north to Tzemach in the south.
Sources informed ''Globes'' that, a few days ago, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources' Petroleum Council recommended awarding the license to Genie Energy Ltd., headed by former minister Effie Eitam. Shareholders include chairman Howard Jonas, Lord Jacob Rothschild, and Rupert Murdoch. Former US Vice President Dick Cheney is an adviser.
The process of granting the license began following geological tests, which indicated a large potential oil discovery in the southern Golan Heights. On the basis of the findings, last summer, Minister of Energy and Water Resources Uzi Landau declared the Golan as open for oil and gas exploration and production activity. Following the announcement, two license applications were filed with the Petroleum Commissioner for the southern Golan, an area of thousands of hectares.JTA contributed to this report.