Despite the protests of environmental activists, the Northern District Committee for Planning and Building approved a two-year extension on Afek Oil and Gas’s exploratory oil drilling permit in the Golan Heights.
Monday’s approval followed the company’s application request for a two-year extension on its existing one-year permit, through which its teams are able to explore for conventional oil at up to 10 sites within a 39,500-hectare zone south of Katzrin. Although the company received a three-year drilling license from the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry for its project in April 2013, the necessary permit issued by the Northern District Committee in July 2014 only covered a one-year period, which began in February of this year.
Following Monday’s committee decision, members of the public now have a 60-day period to file objections.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the decision of the committee,” Michael Jonas, CEO of Afek alongside Geoffrey Rochwarger, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“I want to thank all of the committee members for their professionalism, dedication and deep understanding of the issues that were being considered in our application, and for reaching the right decision.”