By Orlando Radice
January 6, 2011
Understandably, there has been much excitement around the announcement that Israel has discovered around 500 billion cubic metres of gas in the Leviathan deposit.
These articles in Ha’aretz and Green Prophet
suggest that Israel is about to turn global energy relationships on their head, rivalling the influence of Iran and Saudia Arabia on energy export markets.
Would it were true. 500 billion cubic metres is pretty tiny in the ranks of global gas fields. (You can see a list of the biggest here). To get an idea of the scale, reserves in Egypt and in Nigeria are four and 10 times bigger respectively. In the words of a London-based energy expert, BP wouldn’t get out of bed for a deposit the size of Leviathan.
Not that I want to bring you down. The huge plus-side of Israel’s discovery is that it could give the country energy self-sufficiency for many years to come. And given that Israel was facing the necessity of having to import natural gas from Russia via Turkey, it was very well-timed too.