As Israel discovers more and more natural gas, will this be a “game changer” in a positive way, or a new reason for Israel’s enemies to attack? Specifically, what will Russia’s reaction be when Israel becomes a natural gas exporter to Europe? Russia is currently one of the major suppliers of natural gas to Europe. Could such developments lead to the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies? These are trends worth watching closely.
Israel’s northern port city of Haifa has been a crucial energy center for decades; refineries dating back to the British Mandate in this land have long processed the oil sent by pipeline or shipped here from abroad. Today, rigs are working off Haifa’s coast to tap the first major fossil-fuel reserve ever found in Israel’s territory, a store on which it hopes to build a far more independent energy future.
The Tamar natural gas field was discovered in 2009 some 50 miles (80 kilometers) off Haifa’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea. There are perhaps scores of known gas fields bigger than Tamar, with its estimated 250 billion cubic meters (9 trillion cubic feet) in reserves; Alaska’s North Slope, for instance, is believed to hold four times as much fuel. But Tamar is large enough to meet all of Israel’s natural gas requirements for 20 to 30 years, the experts say.
This unprecedented offshore bonanza expanded dramatically the following year when another field, Leviathan, almost double the size of Tamar, was discovered another 30 miles (48 kilometers) to the west. (A smaller field, Tanin, with an estimated 33.9 billion cubic meters (1.2 trillion cubic feet) in natural gas, was discovered nearby earlier this year.)With natural gas scheduled to begin flowing from Tamar next year, and from Leviathan about four years later, Israel is on the brink of a historic shift. Instead of being an energy-scarce nation amid Middle East oil giants, many of them hostile, Israel now faces a future as a fuel producer in its own right—likely as an exporter and supplier to some of its neighbors, a development that could dramatically alter the region’s geopolitics.
Israel’s foreign and domestic policy no longer will be intertwined with the question of securing adequate fuel supply. Now it will face a quite different challenge—managing the nation’s newfound energy abundance.
“This is going to change the overall way of the economy of Israel,” says Shaul Zemach, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources. “It’s like a domino—it’s going to have a domino effect on all of the markets.” Quite simply, he said, it’s a “game changer.”…. [To read the full story, please click here]
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