Israel's natural gas.
(photo credit: MINISTRY OF NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURES)
The cabinet is expected to approve Energy, Infrastructures and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz’s plan next week to connect Israel’s off-shore natural gas reserves to land.
The plan, known as National Master Plan (TAMA) 37-H, calls for the Leviathan gas field to have two main connection points for pipelines on land – one in Emek Hefer and the other near Yokne’am.
Ministry director-general Shaul Meridor welcomed the “important” decision, saying an additional pipeline is an economic necessity.
He added that the decision applies only to the 621 billion cubic meter Leviathan reservoir at the moment, though it could eventually be applied to the smaller, 70 bcm Tanin and Karish reservoirs as well.
Leviathan’s partners hope to have gas start flowing by 2019, though that would require having a fully approved development plan by the end of 2016.
A final go-ahead of the controversial gas outline that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed through in December is in the hands of the Supreme Court, which is expected to decide soon on the deal’s legality after opponents filed an injunction request.
Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy owns a 39.66 percent stake of the Leviathan reservoir, while Delek Group subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each hold 22.67%, and Ratio Oil Exploration has a 15% share.
According to Delek, the plan calls for eight production wells to produce an estimated 21 billion cubic meters of gas annually, though sources close to the industry have said that number could go up to 31 bcm if Turkey were to agree to get supplies from Leviathan. Statements from the ministry last week indicated that the European Union expressed interest in receiving Israeli natural gas as well. Sources close to the industry have noted that some of the biggest potential customers at the moment are in Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.