State Earned Nearly a Billion Shekels from Gas Finds in 2019

The Leviathan gas field gas-processing rig near Caesarea. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

Israel in 2019 earned NIS 842 million from royalties on the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields – a figure that should double in 2020, as production from Leviathan ramps up. The income was in line with the amount expected by the Sheshinski Commission, which three years ago set the rates for the state’s royalties.

With that, income in 2019 was 2.5% less than in 2018. The reduction was due to an increase in the value of the shekel versus the dollar. In addition, the flow of gas from the Tamar field was slowed last April, as maintenance work was being done at the field.

Israel in January became an energy exporter , as the first delivery of natural gas from the Leviathan gas field was transferred to Egypt. The gas began flowing after several tests by Noble Energy, which along with its Israeli partners has the franchise for exploring, refining, and exporting gas from the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields. Last week, gas from the Leviathan field began to flow to Israeli customers, with the Israel Electric Company the first local customer.

Egypt is the first international customer for Leviathan gas. Under the deal, Israel will export a total of 60 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas from Leviathan over the next 15 years, and 25 BCM from the Tamar field over that period as well. Between 2020 and 2034, some 26 billion BCM of that gas will go to Egypt, based on the arrangement between the Israeli licensees of the fields and the Egyptian company authorized to purchase the gas. Gas is also set to be exported to Jordan.

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