Shalom Life | July 30, 2014

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.

An Interview with Umami Burger Creator Adam Fleischman An Interview with Umami Burger Creator Adam Fleischman TrendingThe Israeli Version of Snapchat The Israeli Version of Snapchat TrendingZane Caplansky in Hot Water After Deciding to Sponsor Palestinian Film Festival Zane Caplansky in Hot Water After Deciding to Sponsor Palestinian Film Festival Trending
 

Shalom, Suriname: A Jewish Culture Guide

July 29, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Shalom, Suriname: A Jewish Culture Guide

This South American nature once held a community of settlers called Jodensavanne (the Jewish Savannah).

Read More

Larry David to Sit Down With David Steinberg For Rare Comedy Event

July 29, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Larry David to Sit Down With David Steinberg For Rare Comedy Event

The 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' creator is joining Steinberg for an exclusive events for Citi card members in Los Angeles.

Read More

Andrew Lloyd Webber is Suing Michael Cohl

July 29, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Andrew Lloyd Webber is Suing Michael Cohl

The 'Jesus Christ Superstar' composer is suing the Canadian producer

Read More

The Love Jewce: Why Ron Dermer and other NJB’s are Freaking Sexy

July 29, 2014 | By Andria Kaplan
The Love Jewce: Why Ron Dermer and other NJB’s are Freaking Sexy

A look at those "sexy Jewish men" who are making it known that they support Israel

Read More

New Zealand Cover Story Mistakes Jackass' Ryan Dunn for Slain IDF Soldier

July 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
New Zealand Cover Story Mistakes Jackass' Ryan Dunn for Slain IDF Soldier

The New Zealand Herald ran a cover story about late IDF Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland, but didn't use the right photo

Read More

Will Rising European anti-Semitism Lead to a 'New' Holocaust?

July 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Will Rising European anti-Semitism Lead to a 'New' Holocaust?

European, Israeli leaders hold emergency session after "rising wave of violent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel demonstrations sweeping Europe"

Read More

An Interview with Umami Burger Creator Adam Fleischman

July 29, 2014 | By Peter Herriman
An Interview with Umami Burger Creator Adam Fleischman

We speak to the renowned chef and owner of the growing restaurant chain about burgers, chocolate fried chicken, and how he comes up with his unique recipes

Read More

American Rabbi Becomes First Non-Christian to Serve as U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom

July 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
American Rabbi Becomes First Non-Christian to Serve as U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom

Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the Religious Action Center, will work towards establishing international religious freedom

Read More

More Headlines