2020 is shaping to be quite an important year for Israel in its energy department. The country has been making changes to its mining policies to make them more environmentally friendly and that has started to have its effects in licenses and contracts with companies looking to obtain energy from its soil.
Israel’s oil and gas prospects seem to be changing wildly. Here are the most recent developments in this area.
Israel Will Not Issue New Licenses for Oil Exploitation
In the last days of February, the Ministry for Environmental Protection announced that it had agreed with the Ministry of Energy that there will be no new licenses granted for Israel oil and gas shale exploration and mining in the country.
The main reason for this new development is that Israel is looking to move on to energy sources that are friendlier towards the environment. The two ministries have made a commitment towards the promotion of clean energy and have found that the benefits of oil shale are outweighed by the impact its production has on the environment and the far-reaching ecological footprint characteristic of this type of project.
No new licenses will be granted for exploration and exploitation as of 2021. Moreover, the two licenses that had already been granted will now be reviewed under the standards set by the new environmental policies and regulations.
It is believed that there are oil shale deposits under 15% of the territory of Israel. However, the country is setting its sights in its natural gas resources. With huge deals being made to provide energy for the area, Israel is betting on natural gas to help it achieve energetic independence.
Israel Works to Become Energy Provider in the Area
Recent studies have shown that Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves might be even bigger than what was initially calculated.
Israel has discovered large gas fields in its territory and has been working towards exploiting them for a number of years. The Leviathan fields has been the source of a mega deal with Egypt, which stipulates that the North African country will process Israeli gas in its liquefied natural gas factories. The gas will then be exported to Europe.
Thus, Israel comes one step closer to being energy independent. In a joint statement, Egypt’s Minister of Oil, Tarek El-Molla, and Israel’s Minister of Energy, Yuval Steinitz, declared that the agreement would “serve the economic interests of both countries”.
The deal strengthens the relationship between the two countries and has been said to be the greatest bilateral agreement since Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty 40 years ago that greatly changed relationships in the Middle East.
There is also English capital at work in three wells in Israeli territory, and the expectation is that the first well will spud in March, 2020. The exploration of the other two wells is contingent on the results from this first one.
All in all, 2020 is looking to be an interesting year in Israel’s energy industry.