Natural gas in Israel is the primary energy source for the country. It is mostly used in the production of electricity and for the industry in a lesser capacity. Until 2009, Israel was mostly importing its energy requirements, consuming almost a hundred million barrels of crude oil a year. Israel has yet to find its reserves of oil, but vast reserves of natural gas which were discovered in late 2009.
The Israeli gas fields contain vast amounts of natural gas estimated at approximately 35 trillion cubic feet. The exploration and study by Israeli scientists resulted in the discovery of these gas fields including the Leviathan, Noa and Yem Thetis deposits, Tamar deposits along with the discovered Karish and Tanin gas fields. The Israeli gas fields contain enough natural gas to meet the energy needs of Israel for at least the next hundred years and become the main source of power generation in Israel.
The Leviathan gas field was a significant find for the Israelis. It is an offshore find, discovered in 2010 approximately located 80 miles off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea. The name of the gas field is so called because it exists in the Levantine basin. The water surrounding this gas field is over five thousand meters deep. Initial estimations put the total available natural gas in this gas field at around 21 trillion cubic feet, which is a lot of gas! This gas find is a significant boost for the Israeli energy economy.
Drilling rigs in Leviathan working the Leviathan gas field need to be top notch because they are situated offshore. Using these drilling rigs which are mounted on platforms, the natural gas is extracted from the gas field and sent via pipeline to offshore centers for processing, storage, and distribution. All of this happens under five thousand feet of water, ensuring minimal environmental impact. Future drilling is planned, to extend the wells to a depth of about seven thousand feet, where additional gas & oil reserves can also be tapped easily. Using seismic studies, estimations of the presence of gas & oil in the deeper layers of the earth can be developed.
Tamar gas field is another Israeli gas field discovered in 2009, which currently supplies nearly 100% of Israel’s natural gas needs today. This gas field is located off the coast of Haifa, east of the Leviathan gas field. This gas field has over 11 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas resources. The Tamar Southwest field is an adjoining field and holds over five hundred billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The amount of gas Karish and Tanin fields have been conservatively estimated at 2.4 trillion cubic feet. Exploration and studies are still being carried out in these two fields using test drilling rigs.
Natural gas consumption is encouraged because of the low environmental impact and the ease of transportation and consumption. It is a cleaner form of fossil energy when compared to crude oil and its products. For Israel, energy security is a reality because of these natural gas fields.