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Israel Begins Tamar Gas Production In Boost To Economy

Shoshanna Solomon & Gwen Ackerman, Bloomberg

Israel started gas production at the Tamar offshore field that may save the country about 1 billion shekels ($274 million) a month in annual energy costs, the Energy Ministry said.

Tamar natural gas rig.

Tamar natural gas rig. Photo: Albatross

Noble Energy Inc. Chairman Charles D. Davidson congratulated Israel in an e-mailed statement. The production is “a great achievement that will reduce the country’s dependency on energy imports and will move the country significantly closer to energy independence,” he said. Noble Energy has a 36 percent stake in Tamar.

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, Delek Drilling-LP, Avner Oil Exploration LLP (AVNRL) and Isramco Negev 2 LP. (ISRAL) Along with Noble, Israeli energy exploration companies have discovered over the past three years enough gas under the Mediterranean to supply the country’s needs 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., said in a phone interview on March 28. “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, according to a Noble press release dated March 6.

The three fields provide Israel with reserves more than 14 times larger than Germany’s total proven gas reserves, which the BP Statistical Review of World Energy published in June 2012 lists at 2.2 trillion cubic feet.

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