What happens to the gas fields in Gaza after the war? The United States has dropped a big hint.

What happens to the gas fields in Gaza after the war?  The United States has dropped a big hint.

Behind the scenes of the war, negotiations are taking place over the large Palestinian gas fields, above the heads of Hamas. At the same time, many wonder whether gas is the driver behind Israel’s war on Gaza.

The short version

Underneath the sea outside the Gaza Strip there are large reserves of gas. fields Gaza Marine 1 and 2Gaza Marine 1 and 2It is located about 36 kilometers west of the Gaza Strip, at a depth of 610 meters below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea, and is estimated to contain 1.4 trillion cubic meters of gas by the British Gas Company (BG), which discovered it. The owners of the field today are the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and the Palestine Investment Fund (50 percent each). See map below in this issue. It has remained undeveloped since its discovery more than 20 years ago.

Behind the scenes of the war, negotiations are taking place regarding them. This has now been confirmed by a high-ranking American envoy.

But that’s not all: experts believe there may be a lot of undiscovered gas in the region. The gas incidents gave rise to a conspiracy theory that has long circulated in pro-Palestinian media and on social media:

It assumes that Israel’s stated goal of crushing Hamas and taking full security control of the Gaza Strip is linked to gas.

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It became a gas giant – crippling development in Gaza

Since the discovery of the Gaza Sea more than 20 years ago, it has been expected that gas extracted there will be able to provide generations of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank with energy security and export income.

But this did not happen. After the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, the fields were legally added to the Palestinian Authority. But gas cannot be extracted without Israeli approval, as Israel has full control over the maritime area off Gaza.

In September 2000, British Gas (BG) announced the discovery of gas on the seabed off the Gaza Strip.  Palestinian officials at the time believed that the Gaza Marine project could provide electricity to Palestinians for generations and perhaps even be exported.  Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat (1929 - 2004) was personally present at the ceremony.

In September 2000, British Gas (BG) announced the discovery of gas on the seabed off the Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials at the time believed that the Gaza Marine project could provide electricity to Palestinians for generations and perhaps even be exported. Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat (1929 – 2004) was personally present at the ceremony.

After Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel did not want gas revenues to fall into the hands of what it believed to be a terrorist organization, so it prevented further progress, according to Israel. Begin-Sadat Center For Strategic Studies (BESA).

Meanwhile, Israel has become an energy heavyweight in the Middle East thanks to discoveries on its continental shelf. Israel began extracting gas in 2004, and the energy source now constitutes 75% of the country’s electricity production.

In the past five years, space has also been found for Israeli gas in the international market, according to Aditya Saraswat of Rystad Energy.

The eastern Mediterranean was once a dream location for gas explorers. He says that tremendous discoveries have been made.

Aditya Saraswat

Research Director for Middle East Analytics at Rystad Energy

In June this year, the country entered into an agreement with the European Union. Europe is trying to make itself independent of Russian gas, as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

According to Saraswat, Israel is now also working to increase gas exports to several countries in the Middle East: – This has led to increased interest in cooperation from countries in the region, he said.

Saraswat describes Israeli gas exports and the border agreements that the country has concluded in recent years as an important part of the normalization processes with many Arab countries.

Key person in gas negotiations

It was difficult to implement some of the gas fields that Israel wanted to develop, near Lebanon in the north and Gaza in the south.

In October 2022, a historic dividing line agreement was finally reached between Israel and Lebanon. It opened gas extraction on both sides of the maritime border there.

The person who was central at that time was Amos Hochstein.

Amos Hochstein

Joe Biden’s senior advisor on energy security and investments

Israel and Lebanon are still officially at war, but the agreement was reached with Hockstein and the United States acting as mediator.

He said that it is not every day that a hostile country recognizes the State of Israel in a written agreement before the eyes of the international community.

In November this year, Hochstein visited the Bahraini capital, Manama.

There he forcefully noted that the US position now, with regard to Gaza’s offshore gas, is that it should benefit the Palestinian people on the day when Gaza is no longer “governed by a terrorist organization.”

Hochstein says he has been working on this issue with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah in the West Bank for a little more than a year.

He added, “There are companies that want to develop these areas.” the NationalAdding that it could “certainly” be a source of income for the Palestinian government and a guarantee of independent energy supplies for the Palestinians.

Today, Palestinians depend entirely on Israel for energy. Asked whether Israel would allow such an arrangement, Hochstein replied: “Yes, 100 percent.”

-I’m very confident. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t, it’s not their reason. He said that the gas belongs to the Palestinian people.

Amos Hochstein (TV) is an important part of US efforts to prevent an escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas, and in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank over unused gas reserves in Gaza.  Here, in a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Finance Minister Janet Yellen, and World Bank President Ajay Banga, in a different context.

Amos Hochstein (TV) is an important part of US efforts to prevent an escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas, and in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank over unused gas reserves in Gaza. Here, in a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Finance Minister Janet Yellen, and World Bank President Ajay Banga, in a different context.

An industry that depends on security

This summer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that they Development will begin By the Gaza Navy in cooperation with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

But according to the statement issued at the time, progress would depend on “preserving the security and diplomatic needs of the State of Israel.”

This may have ruled out Hamas even at the time. Since the Islamic organization came to power, Hamas has demonstrated the willingness and ability to carry out attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets with missiles, drones, and naval forces.

Israel controls the sea off the Gaza Strip.  But Hamas's military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, has proven several times that it possesses naval capabilities.  Here during an anti-Israel demonstration in Rafah in 2015.

Israel controls the sea off the Gaza Strip. But Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, has proven several times that it possesses naval capabilities. Here during an anti-Israel demonstration in Rafah in 2015.

Israel’s gas industry is vulnerable to missile and naval attacks, according to Simon Henderson Washington Institute.

A sign of how vulnerable the gas industry really is came on October 9. Then production in the Tamar gas field stopped. The field is located 25 km north of Gaza City. A month later, Israel instructed Chevron, the field’s owner, to resume production.

Over the past 20 years, Israel has developed a number of gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.  The most important gas fields are Tamar (pictured) and Leviathan.  Gas extraction has given Israel a geopolitical boost.  Many people are now wondering what will happen to gas reserves outside Gaza.

Over the past 20 years, Israel has developed a number of gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean. The most important gas fields are Tamar (pictured) and Leviathan. Gas extraction has given Israel a geopolitical boost. Many people are now wondering what will happen to gas reserves outside Gaza.

Rejects “gas-fueled war”

Meanwhile, the uncertain future of Gaza’s navy has led some voices, especially in Russian and Arab media — and pro-Palestinian individuals on social media — to link gas to war.

The conspiracy theory is well known. Videos and posts linking Israel’s war to the gas fields have garnered hundreds of thousands of views on platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

So far, there is no information proving that Israel’s war has anything to do with natural resources. Amos Hochstein also denied to The National that the war was partly motivated by Israel’s ambitions to control Gaza’s gas:

– He says that Israel has enormous resources.

However, Israel has great ambitions to produce and export gas in the coming years. In this regard, safety is key, both to attract investment and to protect existing facilities.

The currently relatively unpolluted area outside Gaza may also contain much more gas than is known so far, according to Saraswat:

– There was no significant exploratory activity outside Gaza. Geologically, this is where you have the greatest chance of finding more resources, he says.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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