Israel’s Energy Ministry has announced that it has awarded 12 licences to six companies to explore natural gas off the country’s Mediterranean coast, aiming to create more competition and diversify suppliers.
The licence awards included one group led by Italy’s Eni along with Dana Petroleum and Israel’s Ratio Energies which will explore an area west of the massive Leviathan field, which supplies Israel with gas and is also used for export.
A second group, involving Azerbaijan’s national oil company Socar along with BP and Israel’s NewMed, will explore north of the Leviathan.
The licences will last for an initial three years, with the option to extend to up to seven years, depending on progress. This will enable the licence holder to first study the area and then decide whether to continue development.
Large gas deposits were discovered in the east Mediterranean over the past decade and a half, and Israel hopes more will be found to increase reserves and advance plans to export gas to Europe, as it turns to new energy sources.