Several key licenses are due to expire by early 2016 with companies facing the prospect of a ‘use it or lose it’ deadline, and a number of them have scheduled drilling next year.

No exploration wells have been spudded offshore Israel since 2013, the first such barren period since the country’s key offshore gas discoveries – 10 tcf Tamar and 22 tcf Leviathan – were made in 2009 and 2010. Exploration peaked in late-2011 when five rigs were drilling simultaneously (see graph). (CONTINUED - 2143 WORDS)