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The energy ministers of Israel and Cyprus have been keen to promote their countries’ ambitions of finding significantly more gas in the eastern Mediterranean following the August discovery by Italy’s Eni of the 30 tcf Zohr field in the Egyptian deepwater bordering Cyprus.
Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz this week said he had met with officials from Eni, Anglo-Dutch major Shell and ExxonMobil amongst others in a bid to re-boot Israeli offshore exploration after almost a year of stasis. “My intent is to reopen Israel’s economic waters for exploration,” Mr Steinitz told reporters on 10 November.
Relatively limited drilling to date has turned up the giant 22tcf Leviathan and 10tcf Tamar discoveries – both discovered by midcap US independent Noble and its Israeli partner Delek. But larger firms are conspicuous by their absence. Only one firm – Italy’s Edison – has upstream interests in both Israel and Arab countries (Egypt, which has diplomatic relations with Israel, but also Algeria, which doesn’t).
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