Israel to offer new exploration licenecs for oil and gas exploration

Jul 05, 2016 12:00 AM

Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources is set to publish 60 new oil and gas licences, sources inform 'Globes,' thus ending four years in which the country's economic waters have been closed for offshore energy exploration. In the first stage, and probably before the end of 2016, between one third and one half of the available licenses will be handed out.

The Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources first called a halt to new offshore exploration licenses in 2002, resumed distributing licenses several years later, and then stopped again in 2012 and has yet to recommence.

Ahead of reopening the sea to offshore energy exploration, the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources commissioned a comprehensive environmental survey for exploration and production of offshore gas and oil. This is the first such environmental survey in Israel and is designed to provide the Petroleum Commissioner with a data based before the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources begins giving out new licensing rights for exploration and production. The survey was conducted by geological consultant Geoprospect and Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research.

The survey, which encompasses hundreds of pages, presents a comparison between Israel and six other countries leading countries in offshore energy exploration the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Canada, US and Australia - from an environmental perspective.

Among the recommendations of the survey, which will be subject to a public hearing, licenses will only be distributed for potential fields that are at least seven kilometers from the coast and there will be no drilling in areas where sensitive marine life is found. License holders will be required to make due diligence environmental reports and utilize only best practice technology that reduces the environmental impact of natural gas and oil exploration and production operations.

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