Shalom Life | September 04, 2015

Could Israel Become a World Leader in Oil Production?

With the second largest oil shale deposits in the world, it's very possible.

By: David Shear

Published: March 28th, 2011 in Business » World

Could Israel Become a World Leader in Oil Production?

The punch line to a joke that’s been told by generation of Jews soon will need to be changed.

“Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!”

This joke was made famous by Golda Meir, the former Prime Minister of Israel, and for many years held a lot of truth. The lack of oil and natural gas is seen as one of the main reasons Israel has become one of the world’s leaders in technology, green energy and health science.

But with the recent findings of the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas reserves off its waters, Israel has a future as an energy independent country. By why stop there? Some believe that Israel could become one of the world’s leading oil producers.

Such is the plan of Harold Vinegar and his colleagues. Dr. Vinegar, the former chief scientist of Royal Dutch Shell, and current chief scientist at Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), believes that with Israel’s oil shale deposits, this could be reality.

IEI is working on an ambitious project to extract oil and natural gas from oil shale from a 238 sq km area off the Shfela Basin, south-west of Jerusalem.

As the price of conventional sources of petroleum has risen, oil shale has gained attention as an energy source, and as a way for some areas to secure independence from external suppliers of energy. However, oil shale mining does raise a number of environmental concerns due to it being very water intensive, and a high producer of greenhouse gas emissions. China has a well established oil shale industry and Brazil, Germany and Russia also utilize oil shale.

IEI claims that its technique will be cleaner than those currently being used because the oil will be separated from the shale rock up to 300 meters beneath the ground, therefore greatly minimizing the amount of water being consumed.

According to Dr. Vinegar, Israel has the second-biggest oil shale deposits in the world, outside the United States. “We estimate that there are the equivalent of 250 billion barrels of oil there. To put that in context, there are proven reserves of 260 billion barrels of oil in Saudi Arabia.” he told The Times.

Once operational, IEI estimates that the cost of production of shale oil would be between $34-40 per barrel. This would make it comparable to the current price of $30-40 per barrel for deepwater oilfield and cheaper than Canadian sand oil and crude oil extracted from the Arctic.

The expectations of Tamar and Leviathan have already given Israel a very positive outlook. Should IEI’s claims turn to reality, Israel would become one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

New App Helps Religious Jewish Women with Niddah New App Helps Religious Jewish Women with Niddah TrendingHebrew National Hot Dogs Promote Eating Products with Bacon, Shellfish Hebrew National Hot Dogs Promote Eating Products with Bacon, Shellfish Trending'Birthright Excel' a Success for 5th Year in a Row 'Birthright Excel' a Success for 5th Year in a Row Trending
 

This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram

August 27, 2015 | By Sy Berg
This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram

2HipJews are putting the 'modern' back into modern Orthodox

Read More

Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye

August 27, 2015 | By Shalom Life Staff
Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye

After nearly 7 years, we are sadly ending Shalom Life's run.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

August 26, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

Tony Kushner's family drama challenges it's audiences on so many levels, it leaves you breathless and beaten. It is awesome; astounding, humbling, overwhelming and remarkable.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review- The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berhnardt

August 23, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review- The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berhnardt

This powerful play based on a true story is an absolute must-see this summer.

Read More

Top 10 Most Influential LGBT Jews

August 14, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 10 Most Influential LGBT Jews

These 10 LGBT celebrities are an inspiration to us all.

Read More

Crossfit “Guru” Does Handstand at Holocaust Memorial

August 14, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
Crossfit “Guru” Does Handstand at Holocaust Memorial

Dave Driskell apologized Monday evening for his actions

Read More

There’s a Jewish Rapper with a #1 Hit Record, and His Name’s Not Drake

August 14, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
There’s a Jewish Rapper with a #1 Hit Record, and His Name’s Not Drake

Lil Dicky's 'Professional Rapper' sells 22,000 copies in its first week

Read More

Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records

August 14, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records

Reports indicate that some 78,000 travelers passed through the Israeli airport in a single day

Read More

More Headlines