Israel to gain geopolitical leverage with offshore gas

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 14 (UPI) --Israel will be able to reap the benefits of energy independence through growing gas reserves at the offshore Leviathan gas field, a development executive said.

The partners developing the giant Leviathan offshore gas field said an audit by Dutch consulting company Sewell and Associates put the reserve estimate at 21.9 trillion cubic feet, up from the previous estimate of around 18.9 trillion cubic feet.

Gideon Tadmor, board chairman at Delek Drilling and chief executive officer at Avner Oil Exploration -- two of the project's developers -- said the revision "will ensure us energy independence for decades to come, and an expansion of export options, with all the accompanying economic and geopolitical benefits."

Leviathan should go onstream in 2016, with much of the offshore field's reserves already designated for exports to regional customers.

Noble Energy, another drilling partner, this year signed export contracts for gas from the Leviathan and nearby Tamar natural gas fields with Jordanian and Palestinian authorities.

Tamar, with an estimated 8.5 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, entered into production in March 2013.

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