By George Whitten, Jerusalem Bureau Chief
Israel’s discovery of the one of the world’s largest natural gas field is much larger than previously estimated, according to a new report obtained by Worthy News.
The Tamar Gas field, offshore from Haifa, is now worth $8 billion, nearly double previous estimates of local analysts, said a report prepared by Wood Mackenzie Research and Consulting.
Tamar is the world’s second largest natural gas discovery over the past 18 months. Natural gas will be flowing into Israel by 2012, officials said.
Analysts say the natural gas field will have a huge impact on the economy of Israel and is expected to make the Jewish state more energy independent.
“The state of Israel will make over $5 billion in royalties and corporate taxes from the production of the gas at Tamar field alone,” said Gal Reiter, an energy industry analyst at Clal Finance & Brokerage, a leading Tel Aviv investment bank.
As infrastructure is built for bringing natural gas onshore, local economies are also expected to benefit from the billions that will be spent on a 500 kilometer (311 mile) distribution network, officials said.
Israel’s National Infrastructure Ministry (NIM) announced it is considering adapting the country’s bus fleet as well as cars to run on natural gas.
The NIM said it believes demand for natural gas “will triple” by 2016, as power plants and industry rapidly switch from oil to natural gas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office refused to respond to a report today purporting to quote an Israeli defense official stating the recent deployment of warships across the Red Sea should be seen as serious preparation for an attack on Iran.
“It is not our policy to comment on such reports,” Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, told WND.
Earlier this week, two Israel Navy gunboats openly sailed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea with permission from Egypt.
“This is preparation that should be taken seriously. Israel is investing time in preparing itself for the complexity of an attack on Iran. These maneuvers are a message to Iran that Israel will follow up on its threats,” the Times of London today quoted what it said was an Israeli defense official as saying.
The warship movements follow the passage last month of an Israeli Dolphin-class submarine through the canal, later returning the same way.
The Times today quoted an Israeli diplomat explaining the Jewish state has been bolstering its ties with certain Arab nations that are also threatened by Iran. The diplomat cited a “shared mutual distrust of Iran” between Israel and Egypt.
In a report denied by Netanyahu’s office, the Times of London two weeks ago claimed Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli warplanes flying over the kingdom in any raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.
The Times said Mossad director Meir Dagan had held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.
“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia,” the newspaper quoted a diplomatic source as saying.