The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) has revealed that an undersea gas field off the coast of Gaza contains an estimated 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas. This, reports Turkey’s Anadolu news agency, is sufficient to fulfil Palestinians’ needs in Gaza and the West Bank for around 25 years. It could also meet Israeli needs for 5 years if negotiations for the state to buy the gas are successful.
A report by the IEC says that it has asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to enter into talks with the Palestinian about a deal for gas supplies, which would reduce Israel’s dependence on its own fields. The new site is located 36 kilometres off the Gaza coast. It was discovered in the late nineties and was explored by British Gas in 2000.
According to the IEC report, British Gas owns 60 per cent of the “Marine Gaza” licence; the Palestinian Investment Fund owns 10 per cent;, and a Lebanese company owned by the Houri family owns 30 per cent. The development of the gas field is expected to take three years before it is producing gas in commercial quantities.
The Palestinian Prime Minister in Ramallah, Ramy Hamdallah, said earlier this month that the Palestinian Authority will produce and export natural gas by 2017.