After Israel complained for years that it was surrounded by oil-rich states but didn’t have a drop within its own borders, it appears there’s a big-time turnaround with the announcement Wednesday that massive oil reserves have been located in the Golan Heights,close to the country’s border with Syria.
Afek Oil and Gas, an Israeli subsidiary of the U.S. company Genie Energy, confirmed the find in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TVbut conceded that until the oil is actually extracted, they won’t be sure of the actual amounts and quality of the oil that has been discovered.
“We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick and what is important is the thickness and the porosity,” the company’s chief geologist, Yuval Bartov, explained. “On average in the world, strata are 20-30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that’s what we now know.”
“There is enormous excitement,” Bartov said. “It’s a fantastic feeling. We came here thinking maybe yes or maybe no, and now things are really happening.”
According to a September 2014 Times of Israel report on the Golan exploration, Genie Energy is chaired by Howard Jonas and counts among its more notable investors the “former US Vice President Dick Cheney, Michael Steinhardt, Jacob Rothschild, and Rupert Murdoch.”
Experts say actually extracting meaningful quantities of oil from the deposits is likely some time away. Some have suggested that while the find could be very significant, the announcement might have as much to do with the share price of the exploration company as the actual certainty that oil will be produced at the site.
The other key consideration in the development of the potential oil feed is its close proximity to the vicious fighting taking place just over the border in neighboring Syria, where ISIS and other jihadi organizations had been battling the Syrian forces of President Assad and his Iran-backed allies Lebanon-based Hezbollah even before Russia’ recent entry into the regional conflict.
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