The Israeli Energy Minister, Yuval Steinitz, announced bids for 24 new offshore oil-and-gas exploration licenses. The tender is expected to close in April 2017. Winners will be chosen in July, reported Reuters.
Upon announcing the tender, Israel released new geological data pointing to a good probability that large natural gas deposits are buried off its Mediterranean coast. Steinitz added: “The preferred outcome is that at the end of the tender we can choose two, three companies that present serious, concrete and relatively fast work plans,” according to Hurriyet Daily News. The minster pointed that the applied companies could bid together with local partners, but each group must have a foreign component.
The tender comes after the government finalized a regulation over issues such as taxes and exports following years of uncertainty that scared off investors.
The only foreign operator currently in Israel, Texas-based Noble Energy, has discovered two huge fields, Tamar and Leviathan. The government hopes the new blocks turn up discoveries comparable to the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields found off Israel’s coast in recent years.