Tuesday, October 26, 2010

(NEWS) Israel To Begin Drilling In Disputed Underwater Gas Field

"Ignoring claims by the Lebanese government that part of a massive underwater natural gas field is within Lebanese territory, Israel has begun establishing the infrastructure to tap the plentiful field.

Israeli and American energy exploration firms are readying their infrastructure to penetrate the massive undersea natural gas field - known as Leviathan. Indications are that the field holds as much as 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, enough to power Israel for the next century.

The effort is being led by Noble Energy Inc., a U.S.-based energy exploration company, who owns a 40 percent share in the field. Leviathan is located roughly 85 miles from the Israeli coast, and is expected to cost $150 million to tap.

However, Lebanon has sought to remind the world that the Leviathan discovery does not reside exclusively within Israel's territory. Lebanon has taken its case to the United Nations for further discussion.

Additionally, Iran has indicated that it intends to support Lebanon further - in energy exploration projects around the region.

The Leviathan finding is of particular importance to both Israel and Lebanon, as both countries currently rely on foreign sources for their energy needs.

The discovery of the massive natural gas field has also led to trade frictions between Israel and the United States, after Israel moved to raise royalties on the American field developers.

"I don't need to tell you what a disaster it would be to have two great allies, Israel and the United States, disputing with one another in the European court," Abraham Sofaer, representative of U.S.-based Noble Energy, said, according to BusinessWeek." (source)

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