A major breakthrough in natural gas development
Natural gas from the Tamar field off Israel's Mediterranean shores began flowing on Saturday, the head of a partner in the field said in a statement.It may not be immediately, but in a couple years, the business of natural gas development should help bring down prices tremendously and make the country more prosperous too.
Israel, once energy poor, is expected to become a gas exporter by the end of the decade, with the Tamar field holding enough reserves to meet the country's gas needs for decades.
The gas discovery in 2009 led to an exploration frenzy in the Levant Basin - shared between Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon - and the uncovering of a second bigger find, Leviathan, which prompted Israel to set up a natural gas wealth fund.
"Today (we begin) independence in Israeli natural gas. It is an enormous achievement for the Israeli economy and the start of a new era," said billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva, the controlling shareholder in Delek Group, one of the partners in Tamar.
The gas should lead to a reduction in production costs for state utility Israel Electric Corp as well as a decline in the price of electricity, the Water and Energy Ministry said last week.