Gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea could turn out to be quite a game changer for the Palestinians, even more so than for the Israelis.
This subject has been very unreported in the U.S. In the late 1990s, the State of Israel contracted with both British Gas Corporation of UK (also has a partner) and Noble Energy Corporation of the U.S. to do exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in a large region named the Levantine Basin. British Gas first discovered wells offshore from the Gaza Strip. But ever since then, Israel has taken the position that it will not allow the Palestinians to reap any profits from gas production from these wells until the Palestinians and Israelis enter into a peace agreement. Nowadays, that would also include an agreement for the Palestinians to realize their own state. That is why no gas production has occurred from these wells.
Noble then began discovering much larger natural gas deposits farther north, offshore from Haifa, which is Israel’s second largest city and its primary industrial center. These gas reservoirs are located in 5,000 feet of water and 5,000-17,000 feet beneath the seabed. Only a few days ago, on Passover, gas production flowed from one of these wells through underwater pipelines to arrive onshore at Ashkelon. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then announced publicly that Israel had begun to become energy independent. Indeed, it is expected that the current discoveries will provide Israel with its energy needs for perhaps the next hundred years and even result in Israel becoming an exporter of natural gas to Europe. This is such a game changer for Israel, which has been quite deficient of the natural resources of oil and gas. But it also could become a huge game changer for the Palestinians.
I plan to be blogging about this subject and especially about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the future. It’s especially because I wrote a book that was published in 1990 and entitled Palestine Is Coming: The Revival of Ancient Philistia. This book is much more relevant now than it was when it published, 23 years ago. Stay tuned.