National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has granted oil and gas exploration licenses for onshore and sea sites to 10 companies to secure the country's energy supply. "The security of energy supply is one of the main goals of our office. Enlarging and diversifying sources of natural gas and oil represents an indispensable part of this goal," Ben-Eliezer said Monday. "As Israel does not have an abundance of natural resources and is dependent on foreign energy supply channels, I am full of hope that the companies which were granted exploration licenses will succeed in their efforts and increase the existing sources of energy." Oil exploration has been carried out in Israel since the early 50s but discoveries have been small. Among those who received the licenses for 12 sites on land and sea are American and Israeli companies including Yitzhak Tshuva's Avner Oil Exploration Ltd., US-based Zion Oil & Gas Ltd., M.M.C.H Ltd., Mekorot renewable energies, US-based Noble Energy Mediterranean Ltd., US-based Eiroc Inc. and Pelagic Exploration. About a year ago, following several years during which no exploration licenses were granted offshore Israel, the National Infrastructures Ministry, decided once again to open the sea for the exploration of oil and natural gas since it had been receiving exploration requests from local and international companies for nearly all the areas that remain offshore the country to be explored. The ministry conducted joint research with the geological and geophysical institute, which analyzed data that had been gathered over the years on the structure of the seabed and found geological structures for exploration and drilling.