Tamar Gas Brings in Nearly NIS 400M

YERUSHALAYIM -
An aerial view of the Israeli ‘Tamar’ gas processing rig off the southern Israeli coast of Ashkelon. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Israel earned NIS 403 million in receipts from royalties, taxes and fees on natural resources in the first half of 2017, the government announced. The largest portion of that sum came from royalties from the Tamar gas field, which yielded NIS 390 million.

Output at the field was several percent higher in the first half of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016. Despite that, income from the field rose only 0.3 percent. The mismatch is due to a slide in the value of the dollar versus the shekel; during the first half of 2016, the dollar was being traded at an average of NIS 3.84, versus NIS 3.49 during the current period.

One area in which income has fallen considerably is that of phosphate exports, , which fell 52 percent in the first half of 2017 compared to a year earlier, with an attendant reduction in royalties. In the first half of 2016, the state earned NIS 13.3 million in those royalties on sales of 4,709 tons of phosphates, compared to income of NIS 6 million on sales of 3,380 tons this year.

The state’s income is set to jump considerably in 2020, when the first royalties from the Leviathan gas field are expected. The royalties from the gas fields, said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, “are an important asset and boost to the state. Royalty income is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, as the new gas fields come on line.”