Israel is on the verge of new major gas finds in its territorial waters, said Reuters. An Israeli exploration group led by Isramco Negev and Modiin Energy cited a “best estimate” resource report for two offshore fields, Daniel East and West, saying there were indications of 8.9tcf of natural gas in total. The fields are believed to contain 1.1tcf and 7.8tcf respectively. The report was prepared by the Texas firm Netherland, Swewell & Associates, according to Haaretz.

If the Daniel fields are developed, Isramco and Modiin could become rivals to Israel’s Noble and Delek companies, that had been enjoying a near monopoly via the existing Tamar and Leviathan gas fields. Until now, the Israeli natural gas agenda in the East Mediterranean, dominated by Noble Energy and Delek, led to protests over the near-monopoly-arrangements. Noble and Delek were thus forced to sell some of their shares to third partners to quiet anti-monopoly objections, according to the Jerusalem Post, with Noble Energy expected to further downsize its share to 25% and Delek made to exit the Tamar basin entirely within six years. With the new finds, Isramco and Modiin would have the gas reserves needed to compete with the Noble-Delek partnership over supplying electricity production in Israel. Isramco owns a 75% stake in the Daniel licenses and Modiin has a 15% stake. In addition, Isramco also currently owns 28.75% of the Tamar field itself.

In other developments, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, held talks with the US Vice President, Joe Biden, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on security, energy, and the Middle East situation, wrote Al-Bawaba. The Israeli PM also met with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, for talks on post-sanction Iran and the threat posed by Islamic State.