Not only will Mediterranean natural gas discoveries be a “game-changer” for Israel, the resource creates attractive partnership opportunities for entrepreneurs from the Gulf of Mexico region, Sen. Mary Landrieu told Israeli industry experts on Sunday.

Landrieu, a democrat from Louisiana, was speaking at the 2012 Israel Energy and Business Convention in Ramat Gan’s Kfar Hamaccabiah, where she was also leading a US Commerce Department oil and gas trade commission trip representing about 20 companies in the Gulf region. Last year, Landrieu piloted the US’s first-ever oil and gas trade commission to Israel under the auspices of the Louisiana Trade Mission.

“This is my second trip to Israel in less than a year on this very topic – oil and gas exploration,” Landrieu said. “This is a game-changer for this nation to secure itself in a much more comprehensive way with the energy resources that it will need in the very difficult neighborhood that it finds itself.”

Following her trip to Israel with the Louisiana Trade Commission last year, Landrieu then hosted a high-level delegation of Israeli officials in Washington, DC and in Louisiana in June to meet with federal officials and industry experts in the US.

“The collaboration that we’re hoping for is between the governments,” Landrieu said. “The US is becoming more and more energy self-sufficient. We are importing our lowest amount of oil in decades.”

After the November election, whether former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney or incumbent President Barack Obama ends up assuming the presidency, the US will be pushing strongly forward toward renewable energy development, according to Landrieu.

“My goal is to strengthen ties between universities in Israel and universities along the Gulf Coast,” Landrieu said, stressing the importance of advancing technology and protecting the environment at the same time.

Also important to both sides, according to the senator, is direct contact between the companies that may potentially work together.

“There’s nothing like company- to-company exchange,” she said. “The government has a role but so does the private sector.”

The discussions – sometimes heated – that took place at the convention on Sunday – on topics such as whether to export natural gas and what exactly to do with the new resource – “sounded a lot like the Louisiana legislature” in the past, Landrieu said, laughing.

“Israel has finally found something that is a gamechanger for them, not only economically but politically and security-wise,” she added.

“Louisiana and the Gulf States are here to help you.”

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