The Tamar offshore natural gas field, after four years of drilling some 80 miles off the coast of Haifa , has recently begun pumping natural gas into the port of Ashdod. This marks a historic step towards Israel achieving energy independence. The natural gas from Tamar combined with the Leviathan, a nearby, off shore drilling station, is expected to fulfill fifty to eighty percent of Israel’s domestic energy needs over the next ten years, in addition to possibly providing Israel with export opportunities. About 40 percent of Israel’s gas needs are presently met via natural gas and by 2015, that number is expected to rise to about 50 percent.

Having Tamar’s gas on tap is expected to save Israel about NIS 13 billion annually on energy costs, due to the energy independence and environmental sustainability that it provides. Furthermore, from an environmental point of view, the use of natural gas from the Tamar reservoir will reduce carbon dioxide emissions within Israel by about 195 million tons, which is a sum so great that it is like removing all cars from all roads within Israel for 14 years.

David Yitzchak Teshuva, CEO of Delek, asserted, “This project will change the face of the Israeli economy and will guarantee energy independence for the state. This is a new age, filled with opportunities for the Israeli economy, which can take advantage of the benefits of natural gas on the environmental, geopolitical, social and economic fronts and turn the State of Israel into an important international player.” He continued, “The vision has turned into a reality. Today, we are again emerging from slaver to freedom; from dependence upon foreign energy sources to independence with natural Israeli gas. This is a huge accomplishment for the Israeli market and the beginning of a new era.”

Teshuva added, “The Tamar project is also a technological and commercial milestone for Noble Energy and our partners. First production and the commencement of sales have been achieved in just over four years from discovery. Building on this success, we will work with our partners and the government to sanction the next phase of development at Tamar and the domestic phase of Leviathan.” He claimed that his vision was in accordance with Israel’s goal to remove her reliance on foreign energy sources.

“I congratulate the people of Israel on this transformational achievement, which significantly moves them toward energy independence and away from reliance on imports,” said Charles D. Davidson, chairman and CEO of Noble Energy. “Utilizing natural gas from Tamar will provide cleaner air, save the state billions of shekels in energy costs and be an engine for economic growth.” Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu continued, “This is an important day for the economy of Israel. On the holiday of freedom, we are taking an important step toward independence in the field of energy. We have advanced the natural gas sector in Israel over the last decade, which will be good for the Israeli economy and for all Israelis.”

By Rachel Avraham

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