Different geologists and economists confirm that Palestine lies above vast reservoirs of oil and gas wealth, although this collides with the fact that the Palestinians are facing a “major stumbling block” preventing them from exploiting such riches, which is the Israeli occupation that has been controlling all natural resources and their development since 1967.
However, according to scientific studies on undiscovered oil and gas resources in Palestine, layers of sediment are believed to be in depths ranging between 1000 to 6000 meters and at temperatures between 60 to 150 degrees Celsius, and this is where oil can be found in large amounts, while gas can be in depths beneath that.
A study conducted in 1930 says that the Palestinian maritime zone is considered geologically one of the most promising areas regarding oil and gas discoveries.
Gaza Reservoirs in Palestine
The US Geological Survey (USGS), one of the world’s most reliable scientific agencies, is well known for providing assessments on locations and amounts of fossil fuel around the globe. It released a study in March 2010 on undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Levant Basin Province, particularly in the eastern Mediterranean.
Eastern Mediterranean Gas Basin
The Levant Basin Province encompasses approximately 83,000 square kilometers of the eastern Mediterranean area. The area is bounded to the east by the Levant Transform Zone, to the north by the Tartus Fault, to the northwest by the Eratosthenes Seamount, to the west and southwest by the Nile Delta Cone Province boundary, and to the south by the limit of compressional structures in the Sinai.
The USGS estimated a means of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas in the Levant Basin Province. This means that this basin is one of the most important gas resources in the world.
Israeli-controlled Gas Fields:
It is located off the coast of Gaza at a depth of 779 meters below sea level. Production from the field started in June 2012.
It is also located off the shore of Gaza to southeast of Noa field. Production started in March 2004, with a total productivity of about 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
It is located roughly 90 kilometers west of Haifa city, at an overall depth of about 1,700 meters below sea level. In March 2013, natural gas started to flow from the Tamar reservoir, with total production estimated at 8.4 trillion cubic feet. There are Israeli talks with Cyprus and South Korea to export gas to them from this field.
It is 130 kilometers away from west of Haifa’s coast and considered the largest deep water gas discovery in the Levant Basin. It is estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. It was discovered in December 2010 and might start its gas production in 2019.
It is 40 kilometers south of Tamar and 60 kilometers off Israel’s Hadera coast. Its total gas reserves are about 0.53 trillion cubic feet. It was discovered in 2009.
Sara and Myra fields:
They were offshore drilling licenses located 40 kilometers off the coast of Netanya (Israel). They were situated south and southwest of the Dalit gas field and southeast of the Leviathan gas field. A preliminary geological survey carried out in 2010 estimated there could be upwards of 6 to 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the fields.
Exploratory drilling in the area in 2012 was unsuccessful, but seismic studies indicated the possibility of oil and gas at deeper strata that were not explored.
It is a natural gas reservoir located 120 kilometers off Israeli shores. It was discovered in 2012, and preliminary estimates put the potential for natural gas at Tanin at about 1.1 trillion cubic feet.
It is about 110 kilometers from the coast of Haifa city, with total gas reserves estimated at about 550 billion cubic feet. It was discovered in November 2011.
It is located 36 kilometers from the coast of the Gaza Strip, and was discovered in 2000 in waters that are legally under the control of the Palestinian Authority. It contains about 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which meets the needs of the Palestinian territories and can be exported as well. The field is still unexploited because of Israel’s attempt to take it over.
Meged Oil field
It was first discovered in the 1980s and began production in 2010. It produces oil as well as some natural gas. It is located inside the occupied West Bank, but Israel persistently claims that it is west of the armistice line of 1948.
The oil reserves of Meged are about 1.5 billion barrels of oil and 182 cubic feet of gas. Most of the reservoir is situated beneath the 1967 occupied Palestinian territory.
Stealing Palestinian Oil and Gas:
Since 1970, Israel has been plundering illegally oil and gas resources in the Palestinian territories under its occupation, and intensified such practices after the signing of the Oslo Accords. It has allowed itself to control and use the Palestinian natural resources to the benefit of Israeli citizens and corporations, and not the local population.