Delek Drilling In an exciting first for Israel, exported its first natural gas shipment to Jordan from the Tamar reservoir, one of its offshore fields located about 60 miles off the coast of Haifa, Israel’s northernmost seaport.
In 2014, Jordan signed a 15-year contract with Israel to purchase $500 million worth of natural gas. Officials predicted the agreement would make Israel Jordan’s largest supplier of natural gas. Jordan fuels its power plants with natural gas.
Gas from the Tamar reservoir is being shipped to Jordan through a specially constructed Dead Sea pipeline, which became operational this year.
Before the so-called Arab Spring, both Israel and Jordan bought big quantities of natural gas from Egypt.
In 2011, following the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Islamists in northern Sinai began repeatedly blowing up the pipeline to Israel and Jordan. Israel had been buying about 40 percent of its natural gas from Egypt.
Some blamed local Bedouins, who allegedly claimed the pipeline was built on their land and they’d never been compensated. Others said Islamic terror cells embedded in the northern Sinai desert were responsible.
Most of the attacks took place near el-Arish, about 30 miles south of the Israeli-Egyptian border. In 2012, the Egyptian company exporting gas to Israel terminated its contract.
Meanwhile in 2009, the Israeli government stepped up issuance of licenses to drill for oil and gas reserves in its coastal waters. Up till then, drilling for offshore oil and gas fields took place in about 10 percent of Israeli coastal waters.
Israel has also been working with Cyprus, Italy and Greece on a multi-billion-dollar project to supply Europe with natural gas.