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Israel awards licences to UK's BP, Italy's Eni to explore gas deposits

November 3, 2023 at 12:17 pm

Headquarter of the Italian oil and gas company Eni in San Donato Milanese, near Milan. [Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel has awarded 12 licences to six companies for the purpose of exploring natural gas off its Mediterranean coast, in an apparent bid to diversify the country’s energy suppliers and nurture more competition as Tel Aviv aims to become an energy hub to export gas to Europe.

The licences were given to the likes of the Italian company Eni (ENI.MI), the Korean subsidiary Dana Petroleum, the United Kingdom’s British Petroleum (BP), as well as Israel’s Ratio Energies (RATIp.TA), which will explore an area west of the Leviathan field, the site which both supplies Israel with gas and provides exports.

According to Israel’s Energy Minister, Israel Katz, on Sunday: “The winning companies have committed to unprecedented investment in natural gas exploration over the next three years, which would hopefully result in the discovery of new natural gas reservoirs.”

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At the end of those three years, the companies will have the option to extend to up to seven years, depending on progress, in a strategy which the energy ministry said will enable the licence holder to first study the area before actually deciding on whether to continue development.

Over the past 15 years, large gas deposits were discovered in the east Mediterranean region surrounding occupied Gaza, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus, prompting a number of proposed deals to be explored.

Tel Aviv’s awarding of the licences to those companies is for the purpose of further exploring the gas reserves within its maritime territory, and fits into the occupation state’s wider aim to become an energy hub that can export gas to Europe.

The besieged and occupied Gaza Strip is unable to access any of the natural resources within its water, which are being monopolised by the occupation state.

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