For some reason, there are a lot of stories today about Israel's natural gas reserves.
Ha'aretz reports that the Tamar gas field is looking at a huge expansion.
The Tamar gas field may be upgraded at a cost of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, including the construction of an underwater pipeline to a plant in Egypt run by Spain’s Union Fenosa Gas, the partners that own and operate the field said Thursday.TOI reports that Israel is pitching an idea of a pipeline to Europe:
The partners are considering expanding production with three new wells and upgrading a production platform near Ashkelon, with the aim of doubling the field’s capacity to 20 billion cubic meters annually, said Delek Group, which owns Tamar together with Noble Energy of Texas and Israel’s Isramco and Dor Alon.
The pipeline is contingent on the partners signing a supply deal with UFG, it said. Delek said the expansion program is to be in place by 2017.
Israel has proposed that EU countries invest in a multi-billion euro pipeline to carry its natural gas to the continent, noting that the supply from Israel would reduce Europe’s current dependence on natural gas from Russia.
A proposal for the “massive” project was introduced by Israel’s Energy Minister Silvan Shalom to energy ministers from Euro-Mediterranean countries who met in Rome earlier this week, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Thursday.
It said the project would require a multi-billion euro investment from Europe to build a pipeline from Israel’s Mediterranean cost to Cyprus, from where the gas would be carried on to Greece and Italy.
The TV report said Cyprus, Greece and Italy were all supportive of the idea, and that Israel would make a formal presentation of the project to European representatives in Brussels in three weeks’ time.
Jordanian media is warning that Israel's actions in Jerusalem are jeopardizing their own agreement with Israel on gas:
A proposal for Jordan to buy $15 billion (Dh55.08 billion) of natural gas from Israel is facing strong opposition in the kingdom because of the intensifying Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which officials fear could delay or even scupper the deal.
Jordan this month took the unprecedented step of recalling its ambassador after Israeli security forces entered Occupied Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque to subdue protesters angered over a move to end a long-standing deal prohibiting Jewish prayer at the site. It was the first time Jordan has officially recalled its envoy to Israel since the two countries signed a peace treaty 20 years ago.
According to Jordanian officials, the 15-year deal to buy gas from Israel’s offshore Leviathan reservoir remains on track.
However, they warn that any renewed tensions over Al Aqsa would jeopardise all areas of economic cooperation — tacitly including the gas deal, which awaits final government approval.
Opposition to the agreement is building among civil society groups and politicians.
Yahya Mohammad Al Saud, an MP and president of the Jordanian parliamentary committee on Palestine, said: “The Jordanian [people are] not willing to accept this agreement. I will return to riding on a donkey and heating my house with wood before I would consider taking gas from Israel.”
At a protest on Sunday in front of Nepco’s Amman headquarters, protesters held up placards opposing “the Zionist gas deal”.
“You cannot depend on the Israelis; they have breached all agreements. And you know what’s going on in [occupied] Jerusalem and at Al Aqsa,” said Rima Abad, one of the demonstrators. “We cannot give them money to support the [colonies] and the occupation.”
Fellow protester Fadi Nashashibi, an engineer who is among the roughly half of Jordanians who are of Palestinian descent, added: “We are building a very good terminal in Aqaba where we could buy liquid gas from anywhere in the world.”
Jordan is constructing a new liquefied gas terminal in the southern city that could allow it to bring in product from Qatar or elsewhere, but officials and analysts say Israeli gas is the cheapest source.
Ha'aretz also has a somewhat strange article interviewing an energy advisor to the Quartet where he says that it is in Israel's interests to help the PA develop the relatively small gas fields off of Gaza, saying it would help Israel to sell its gas to Muslim countries. Sounds like more wishful thinking than anything else.