Israel Nears Gas Export Threshold


Israel’s future as a natural gas exporter is rapidly approaching, according to a report in Globes on Sunday.

The national gas reserves are nearing 950 billion cubic meters (BCM), the threshold quantity for allowing exports under the Tzemach Committee recommendations. The figure is based on a recent estimate of gas at the Leviathan reservoir and an optimistic projection for gas finds at the Karish prospect.

Last Thursday, Leviathan partner Noble Energy announced that it was revising upward its estimate of gas in the reservoir from 17 TCF (trillion cubic feet) to 18 TCF following analysis of the results of the Leviathan 4 appraisal well, the drilling of which was completed a few days before. The company also announced that the Karish prospect in the Alon C license has a pre-drill gross mean resource estimate of 3 TCF.

One of the many decisions awaiting the new government will be whether or not to accept the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee on gas policy, chaired by Ministry of Energy and Water director general Shaul Tzemach. The committee’s final report, submitted on August 29, recommended allowing the export of up to 50% of gas from any reservoir, with the option of increasing the proportion to 75% by trading in export rights with other reservoirs.

The Tzemach Committee assumed that Israel’s natural gas reserves would permit the export of up to 500 BCM of gas while keeping a national reserve of 450 BCM, which will meet Israel’s domestic needs for 25 years. At the time of the report, Israel had 800 BCM in proven gas reserves, but the committee’s estimate assumed that at least an additional 150 BCM of gas would be discovered with a 90% chance of success.

However, the recent failure of the Myra and Sarah wells and disappointing yields from the Shimshon and Ishai wells, have stirred criticism that the Committee’s forecast was overly optimistic.

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