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December 27: Natural Gas Off Israel’s Coast

December 27, 2013
55978_449x349-cb1341352662The Noble Energy consortium of Houston, Texas announced on this date in 2010 that the recently discovered Leviathan natural gas deposit in the Levant Basin, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel, contains sufficient natural gas to meet Israel’s energy needs and turn the country into a natural gas exporter. This will obviate Israel’s need to import coal and establish the country’s energy independence — although the Levant Basin is shared by Gaza, Lebanon, Cyprus, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which means that disputes about drilling and ownership of the natural gas (not to mention the impact of methane on global climate change) are already being negotiated. The Lebanese government has launched a complaint to the United Nations saying Israel is in violation of its continental shelf; Egypt argues that the Leviathan is closer to its city of Damietta than to Haifa; Palestine has accused Israel of stealing the gas from the Gaza Strip; and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has created a special military force for gas fields protection. “If it acts correctly, level-headedly and responsibly, Israel can enjoy not only the benefit of using the gas, but it can also turn into a gas supplier in the Mediterranean region.” —Uzi Landau, minister of infrastructure