Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources today published a fourth round of tenders for offshore natural gas exploration licenses. The new tender follows a change of policy by outgoing Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Karine Elharrar who last year said that no new tenders would be published.
Elharrar has come under fire since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war the subsequent energy crisis in Europe and in particular the huge demand for natural gas. Companies and countries are able to increase their gas exports and their profits and in May 2022, Elhararr announced a change of policy and that new exploration licenses would be issued.
As part of the latest tender procedure, four sets of exploration licenses (zones) will be offered. The decision to market the areas in bundles of licenses, according to the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, is intended to enable a more correct matching of the search areas to the existing geological structures in the sea, which may contain natural resources.
The basic premise is that holding licenses to explore larger areas will allow geological and geophysical surveys to be carried out in a more professional and efficient manner. In some of the clusters, exploration licenses have already been granted in the past, and seismic surveys and other exploration operations have been carried out, indicating a possible potential for the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves.
With the opening of the competitive procedure, the ministry has uploaded an updated version of a dedicated website, where bidders can find all the information about the procedure and review the relevant documents and materials. The companies will be able to submit proposals until the summer of 2023, and a few weeks later the results of the tender will be published. A prospecting license will be granted for a period of 3 years. During the period, the license holders will carry out the work plan they have committed to in order to explore the entire area they have received.
After implementation of the work plan, the licensee can request an extension for two additional years, provided that a work plan is filed that includes drilling in at least one of the licenses in the cluster, as well as another work plan, to be approved in the other licenses.
Elharrar said, “The exploration procedure for natural gas in Israel’s economic waters will allow for increased competition, the creation of stability in supply to the domestic economy and will allow for the signing of additional agreements, such as those we have signed with the EU and Egypt, for the export of natural gas worldwide. This is a great moment for the State of Israel, which due to the global energy crisis has become a significant player in the international energy market and will continue to position itself as a significant player in the regional and international energy market.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on December 13, 2022.
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