The head of the Palestinian Investment Fund said on Monday that work on Gaza's offshore gas field, known as Gaza Marine, is expected to start in 2021, assuming that no obstacles are put in place by Israel, Al-Resalah has reported. Once fully operational, the field should cover half of the West Bank's electricity needs.
Speaking to Voice of Palestine Radio, Mohammed Mustafa added that there are international parties trying to coordinate with the Israeli occupation authorities to let the Palestinian Authority exploit the natural resources off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip. The territorial ownership of Gaza Marine by the Palestinians is recognised by Israel.
Mustafa pointed out that the investment fund is in talks with British and Greek companies after the withdrawal of the French-owned Shell from the project. He explained that developing the gas field will cost around $1 billion. That is why help is being sought from foreign companies, which would pay 37.5 per cent in taxes to the Palestinian Investment Fund. Gas from Gaza Marine will benefit Palestinians across the occupied territories; the early signs are that there is enough in reserve to run the Gaza and Jenin power stations for 15 years.
Gaza Marine was discovered by British Gas in 2000. It is estimated to contain a trillion cubic metres of natural gas.