Green groups fret over Israeli gas future

Jan. 15, 2013 at 8:45 AM

JERUSALEM, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Israeli environmental groups expressed concern about the potential for natural gas exports as lawmakers prepare for Knesset elections.

More than 30 parties are registered to take part in Israeli elections scheduled Jan. 22. A joint letter to lawmakers from the Israel Union for Environmental Defense and its supporters, including Greenpeace, calls for a rejection of recommended natural gas exports, the Platts news service reports.

Israel aims to ease dependence on Egyptian natural gas through offshore reserves. Platts reports that a government panel recommended that authorities target 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exports per year through 2040. That estimate is based on an estimated reserve potential of 51 trillion cubic feet.

The environmental consortium said it was concerned that gas exports would trump domestic needs. They added the reserve estimates cited by the government panel was off base.

Unnamed industry leaders in the country confirmed those concerns, saying the reserve estimates were too optimistic. They said some government figures included data from license areas that yielded no commercial reserves.

Platts reported that it estimates the proven natural gas resources for Israel at around 30 trillion cubic feet.

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