Tamar natural gas rig 370.
(photo credit: Albatross)
Environmental advocacy group Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental
Defense) has distributed a question-and-answer guide to MKs about minimizing
natural gas export, the group announced on Sunday.
As gas from the Tamar
offshore reservoir began to flow into Israel a week ago, green groups have
responded by pressuring government officials to ensure that the country keeps
enough for its own citizens. The 250 billioncubic- meter supply from Tamar alone
would be able to support Israel for the next 25 years, and the developers have
estimated that adjacent Leviathan reservoir contains about double the
Government officials have yet to agree on the quantity to be
allotted for export, but the Zemach Committee – headed by Energy and Water
Ministry director-general Shaul Zemach – has recommended that the export be no
more than 500 billion cu.m. total.
While energy officials argue that such
a sizable export allowance will encourage further exploration and development in
the Mediterranean, environmentalists have warned that Israel must minimize its
gas exports. Both current Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz and
former minister Gilad Erdan have voiced such words of caution.
Adam Teva V’Din guide, scientists and lawyers from the organization stress that
the MKs have the responsibility to oppose the Zemach Committee’s
recommendations. There must be a campaign to restructure the gas export plans,
as the current one will maximize the profits of captains of industry, and cause
irreversible damage to the health and pockets of Israelis, the document
The guide provides nine questions and answers about how the
Zemach Committee conducted its research and made its final
Among these is the issue of natural gas policy around
the world, the document said. The “United States gas superpower,” for example,
only exports 6 percent of its natural gas, while countries, like Australia and
Argentina, that have been more free with their export policies have ended up
losing their resources entirely, the organization said.
In addition, the
guide rebuts the claims of gas industry leaders that if Israel does not export
the gas, development here will not be profitable.
The value of the
Leviathan basin is in the tens of billions of dollars, while the cost of
development the reservoir is only a couple of billion dollars, argued the head
of the Adam Teva V’Din’s economics and environmental department, attorney Dana
Moreover, the guide criticizes the Zemach Committee for
drawing its conclusions largely on speculative assumptions about future needs
and prices, without properly substantive economic assessments, according to the
air and energy department head at the organization, Dr. Arie Wenger.
split personality of the state’s leaders is incomprehensible – on the one hand
they are celebrating the flow of gas from Tamar and are talking about Israel as
an energy superpower, and on the other hand they are considering selling all of
its gas reserves and leaving the public with polluting energy,” said Amit
Bracha, executive director of Adam Teva V’Din.
The Energy and Water
Ministry has in the past week reiterated that the topic is to be discussed soon,
after which the office will make its final recommendations toward the cabinet’s
decision on the issue.