Van Golda Meïr is de volgende uitspraak bekend: ‘Mozes heeft ons 40 jaar lang door de woestijn gesleept om ons te leiden naar de enige plek in het Midden-Oosten zonder olie.’ Dat lijkt nu alsnog in orde te komen.
De nieuwe vondsten zijn belangrijk voor de interne energievoorziening van Israël. Daarnaast wordt Israël nu ook exporteur van gas. Dit heeft belangrijke consequenties voor de geopolitieke verhoudingen in de regio.
Onder de titel, ‘Israel Joins the Natural Gas Revolution’, schreef Walter Russell Mead:
Natural gas began flowing out of the Tamar gas field off the coast of Israel yesterday, in a sign of Israels changing position in the global energy landscape. The Tamar field is the smaller of two adjacent reservoirs, and developing it was the largest infrastructure project in Israels history. A 150 kilometer pipeline, one of the longest of its kind in the world, connects the field to Ashdod. Together, the Tamar field and its larger neighbor, named Leviathan, are among the largest offshore natural gas discoveries in the past decade.
Beyond these milestones, the Tamar and Leviathan fields will change Israels position in the geopolitical and energy world. For one thing, the gas will satisfy much of Israels domestic needs. The Tamar field alone will contribute one percentage point to Israels GDP, which is estimated to reach 3.8 percent. No longer will Israel have to rely on irregular transport of gas from Egypt; in fact, the companies that control the Tamar and Leviathan fields are considering exporting gas to neighboring countries like Jordan and Turkey.
As the gas began flowing from Tamar this weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this was an important day for the Israeli economy.
Looking at the global energy landscape generally, things are changing. Once big consumers of foreign energy, countries like the US and Israel are exploiting domestic sources of oil and gas and becoming more self-sufficient. And less beholden to turbulent or unfriendly countries like Venezuela and Nigeria. As this happens, countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, which in the past were important and rich because of their energy riches, are going to find their positions in the energy world eroded.
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