“On the Festival of Freedom, we are taking an important step toward energy independence,” Mr Netanyahu’s office said on Saturday, referring to the week-long Passover holiday, which ends on Monday. “We have advanced the natural gas sector in Israel over the last decade, which will be good for the Israeli economy and for all Israelis.”
According to Israel’s government The Tamar project cost $3bn, took four years to develop, and is the largest privately funded infrastructure project in Israeli history.
The Bank of Israel estimates that the Tamar field will contribute a percentage point of the country’s gross domestic product growth this year, which is estimated to reach 3.8 per cent.
The Tamar field is a natural gas discovery made by Noble Energy in January 2009 and is the company’s largest find to date. Noble Energy owns 36% in Tamar and is the operator of the field. Isramco Negev 2 owns 28.75%, while two of Delek Group’s subsidiaries – Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration – own 15.625% each. The remaining 4% stake is held by Dor Gas Exploration.
According to estimates, the field has reserves of 8.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas. First production from Tamar is expected in 2012. The project was approved in August 2010.
Tamar gas field location
The Tamar field is located in the Levantine basin of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The prospect falls under the Matan licence, which Noble Energy has operated since July 2006.
The Matan deepwater block covers 318km² while the Tamar structure is spread over 250km². The first appraisal well that discovered Tamar’s natural gas reservoirs is 90km west of the port of Haifa on the Israeli coast.
Israel’s gas reservoirs at Tamar, which were discovered in 2009, and the larger, undeveloped Leviathan make the nation’s offshore finds among the world’s biggest in the past decade.
Mr Netanyahu’s new government is expected to decide soon on the report of the Tzemach Committee, published last year, which recommended that Israel export up to 500bn cubic meters of its gas and save at least 450bcm for its domestic needs.
The two biggest shareholders in Tamar and Leviathan, Noble Energy and Delek Energy. In a statement on Saturday, the investors in Tamar said that the project would save the Israeli economy about $13bn a year in energy costs.
Yitzhak Tshuva, owner of the Delek Group, said the start of production at the field marked an end to Israeli “slavery” and dependence on foreign energy sources. “This is the beginning of a new era that will change the face of the Israeli economy,” he said.
New York News