Natural gas in Israel

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Noa natural gas field, offshore Ashkelon
Israeli natural gas lines network map

Natural gas in Israel is a primary energy source in Israel, mainly utilized for electricity production and to lesser degree in industry. Israel began producing natural gas from its own offshore gas fields in 2004. Between 2005 and 2012, Israel had imported gas from Egypt via the al-Arish-Ashkelon pipeline, which was terminated due to Egyptian Crisis of 2011-14. As of 2014, Israel produced over 7.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas a year.[1] Israel had 199 billion cubic meters (cu m) of proven reserves of natural gas as of the start of 2016.[2] In early 2017, Israel began exporting natural gas to the Kingdom of Jordan.


Consumption of fossil fuel energy sources in Israel since 1980. Coal consumption rose steadily since 1980 when it was negligible. Natural gas consumption was nearly zero in 2003 and has risen steadily since.

Historically, Israel relied on external imports for meeting most of its energy needs, spending an amount equivalent to over 5% of its GDP per year in 2009 on imports of energy products.[3] The transportation sector relies mainly on gasoline and diesel fuel, while the majority of electricity production is generated using imported coal. As of 2013, Israel was importing about 100 mln barrels of oil per year.[4] The country possesses negligible reserves of crude oil but does have abundant domestic natural gas resources which were discovered in large quantities starting in 2009, after many decades of previously unsuccessful exploration.[5][6][7][8][9]

Until the early 2000s, natural gas use in Israel was minimal. In the late 1990s, the government of Israel decided to encourage the usage of natural gas because of environmental, cost, and resource diversification reasons. At the time however, there were no domestic sources of natural gas and the expectation was that gas would be supplied from overseas in the form of LNG and by a future pipeline from Egypt (which eventually became the Arish–Ashkelon pipeline). Plans were made for the Israel Electric Corporation to construct several gas-driven power plants, for erecting a national gas distribution grid, and for an LNG import terminal. Soon thereafter, gas began to be located within Israeli territory, first in modest amounts and a decade later in very large quantities located in deep water off the Israeli coastline. This has greatly intensified the utilization of natural gas within the Israeli economy, especially in the electrical generation and industrial sectors, with consumption growing from an annual average of 9,900,000 m3 (350×10^6 cu ft) between 2000 and 2002 to 3.7×109 m3 (129×10^9 cu ft) in 2010.[6]

Natural Gas Usage in Israel[10]
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2014 2016* 2018* 2020* 2022* 2024* 2026* 2028* 2030*
1.2 1.6 2.3 2.7 3.7 4.2 5.2 7.6 9.5 10.1 11.1 11.7 13 14.3 15.3 16.8
Figures are in Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) per year . *Estimated.

Discoveries in the 2000s[edit]

Proved reserves of natural gas in Israel
Production of natural gas in Israel, 1980-2012 (US Energy Information Administration)

In 2000, a modest discovery was made when a 33-billion-cubic-metre (BCM), or 1,200-billion-cubic-foot, natural-gas field was located offshore Ashkelon, with commercial production starting in 2004. As of 2014 however, this field is nearly depleted—earlier than expected due to increased pumping to partially compensate for the loss of imported Egyptian gas in the wake of unrest associated with the fall of the Mubarak regime in 2011. In 2009, a significant gas find named Tamar, with proven reserves of 223 BCM or 7.9×10^12 cu ft (307 BCM total proven + probable) was located in deep water approximately 90 km (60 mi) west of Haifa, as well as a smaller 15 BCM (530×10^9 cu ft) field situated nearer the coastline.[11][12][13][14] Furthermore, results of 3D seismic surveys and test drilling conducted since 2010 have confirmed that an estimated 621 BCM (21.9×10^12 cu ft) natural-gas deposit exists in a large underwater geological formation nearby the large gas field already discovered in 2009.[15][16][17][18] The US Energy Information Administration listed Israel as having 6.2 trillion cubic feet of proved reserves as of 1 January 2015.[19]

The Tamar field began commercial production on 30 March 2013 after four years of extensive development works.[20] The supply of gas from Tamar is expected to provide a boost to the Israeli economy, which has suffered losses of more than NIS20 billion between 2011 and 2013 resulting from the disruption of gas supplies from neighboring Egypt (and which are not expected to resume due to Egypt's decision to indefinitely suspend its gas supply agreement to Israel).[21][22] As a result, Israel, as well as its other neighbor Jordan, which also suffered from disruption of gas deliveries from Egypt, had to resort to importing significantly more expensive and polluting liquid heavy fuels as substitute sources of energy. The ensuing energy crisis in Israel was lifted once the Tamar field came online in 2013, while Jordan committed to a US$10 billion, 15-year gas supply deal totaling 45 BCM from the Israeli Leviathan field which is scheduled to come online in late 2019.[23] The agreement is estimated to save Jordan US$600 million per year in energy costs.[24] In 2018, the owners of the Tamar and Leviathan fields announced that they are negotiating an agreement with a consortium of Egyptian firms, subject to regulatory approval in both countries, for the supply of up to 64 BCM of gas over 10 years valued at up to US$15 billion. Although Egypt has been making strides in developing new gas fields in recent years to help it meet rising domestic demand, it also has idle LNG exporting capacity and the deal has the potential to help make it an important regional gas export hub.[25]

The discoveries of natural gas confirmed that the Levant basin of the Eastern Mediterranean contains significant quantities of natural gas. Consequently, additional exploration for gas off Israel's coastline is continuing.[8][26] In early 2012 the Israeli cabinet announced plans to set up a sovereign wealth fund (called "the Israeli Citizens' Fund") that would allocate part of the royalties from energy exploration to education, defense and overseas investments.[27]

Field[28] Discovered Production Estimated size
Noa North 1999[29] 2012 50 billion cubic feet
Mari-B 2000 2004 1 trillion cubic feet
Tamar 2009 2013 10.8 trillion cubic feet[14]
Dalit 2009 Not in production 700 billion cubic feet
Leviathan 2010 Not in production 22 trillion cubic feet
Dolphin 2011 Not in production 81.3 billion cubic feet[30]
Tanin 2012 Not in production 1.2–1.3 trillion cubic feet
Karish 2013 Not in production 2.3–3.6 trillion cubic feet

Power stations[edit]

List of Natural gas-fired power stations in Israel:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CIA. The World Factbook. Natural gas - production.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Asa-El, Amotz (27 January 2009). "Gas discovery tempers Israeli recession blues". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  4. ^ Israel's Key Energy Statistics - Energy Information Administration site
  5. ^ Buck, Tobias (31 August 2012). "Field of dreams: Israel's natural gas". Financial Times Magazine. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Oil and natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean region (summer 2013 report)". U.S. Energy Information Administration. 15 August 2013. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  7. ^ Levinson, Charles; Chazan, Guy (30 December 2010). "Big Gas Find Sparks a Frenzy in Israel". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  8. ^ a b Bar-Eli, Avi (26 April 2011). "400 Drills in 60 Years: Is there Oil in Israel?". TheMarker (in Hebrew). Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  9. ^ Udasin, Sharon (3 July 2012). "New Natural Gas Wealth Means Historic Change for Israel". National Geographic News. part of "The Great Energy Challenge" series. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Delivery System". Israel Natural Gas Lines, Ltd. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Delek Group Subsidiaries Announce Preliminary Results of 3D Seismic Survey & Updates on Tamar & Mari-B Fields" (Press release). Delek Group. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  12. ^ Bar-Eli, Avi (12 August 2009). "Tamar offshore field promises even more gas than expected". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  13. ^ Scheer, Steven (3 June 2010). "Noble increases Tamar gas reserve estimate 15 pct". Reuters. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Tamar Reserves Update". Isramco Negev 2, LP. 1 February 2014. p. 2. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  15. ^ Solomon, Shoshanna; Khan, Sarmad (13 July 2014). "Israel Shares Rise as Gas Field Reserves Are Increased". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Noble Energy Announces Successful Leviathan Appraisal Results and Increases Resource Size" (Press release). Noble Energy. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Significant Discovery Announced at Leviathan-1" (Press release). Delek Group. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  18. ^ Barkat, Amiram; Koren, Hillel (1 May 2013). "Leviathan gas reserves raised again". Globes. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  19. ^ US Energy Information Administration, Natural gas proved reserves, 2015.
  20. ^ Solomon, Shoshanna; Ackerman, Gwen (30 March 2013). "Israel Begins Gas Production at Tamar Field in Boost to Economy". Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  21. ^ Barkat, Amiram (24 December 2013). "Israel in talks to export gas via Egypt". Globes. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  22. ^ Barkat, Amiram (30 March 2013). עצמאות אנרגטית: החלה הזרמת הגז הטבעי ממאגר "תמר"; צפוי להגיע לישראל תוך 24 שעות [Energy Independence: Gas from Tamar Expected to Arrive in 24 Hours]. Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  23. ^ "Leviathan partners say all conditions met to supply natgas to Jordan". Reuters. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  24. ^ Omari, Raed (8 March 2018). "'Lands for Israel gas pipeline acquired'". The Jordan Times. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Israel announces major gas deal with Egypt". Deutsche Welle. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  26. ^ Zeno, Lior (10 May 2011). "Two Weeks' Postponement in Pelagic's Drilling License Approval". TheMarker. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  27. ^ Shemer, Nadav; Udasin, Sharon (19 February 2012). "Cabinet outlines plan for sovereign wealth fund". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  28. ^ Israel’s Natural Gas Bonanza Archived 2009-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. Energy Tribune. Retrieved on 8 September 2011.
  29. ^ Beckwith, Robin (March 2011). "Israel's Gas Bonanza" (PDF). Journal of Petroleum Technology: 46. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  30. ^ Yeshayahou, Koby (12 February 2012). "Dolphin gas field estimate cut by 85%". Globes. Retrieved 26 July 2012.