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Israel Starts Tamar Gas Production

Source: Bloomberg 3/31/2013, Location: Middle East

Israel started gas production at the Tamar offshore field in an effort to put the country on the road to energy independence and save a projected 1 billion shekels ($274 million) a month, according to the government.

The gas was expected to reach Israel’s port city of Ashdod, the Energy and Water Ministry said.

The field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, estimated to hold 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, is being developed by a group that includes Noble Energy Inc. (NBL), Delek Drilling-LP, Avner Oil Exploration LLP (AVNRL) and Isramco Negev 2 LP. (ISRAL) Along with Noble, Israeli energy exploration companies have discovered enough gas under the Mediterranean over the past three years to supply the country for 150 years.

“We are talking about billions of dollars coming to the state from tax revenues from Tamar gas over a 20-year period,” Gilad Alper, a senior analyst at Excellence Nessuah Brokerage Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said in a phone interview. “It will also reduce energy costs as we will replace expensive imports with a cheap domestic supply of natural gas. The start of the flow is a big positive for the economy.”

The Tamar and Dalit fields could supply Israel with gas for two decades. The larger Leviathan field is estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, Noble said in a statement March 6.

“This is an important day for the Israeli economy,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today in an e-mailed statement. “We are taking an important step toward energy independence.”

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