Prophecies Fulfilled in OUR Generation (last 100 years)
NATURAL RESOURCES FOUND IN ISRAEL
Israel’s Big Gusher - Forget olive oil. Israel’s offshore drilling is about to make it the Middle East’s next energy exporter
Deuteronomy 33:13-29 – Moses’ Final Blessing on Israel
Dt 33:13 And of Joseph he said: “Blessed of the Lord is his land,
With the precious things of heaven, with the dew, And the deep lying beneath,
14 With the precious fruits of the sun, With the precious produce of the months,
15 With the best things of the ancient mountains, With the precious things of the everlasting hills,
16 With the precious things of the earth and its fullness, And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.
Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.’
17 His glory is like a firstborn bull, And his horns like the horns of the wild ox;
Together with them He shall push the peoples To the ends of the earth;
They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, And they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
18 And of Zebulun he said: “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, And Issachar in your tents!
19 They shall call the peoples to the mountain; There they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness;
For they shall partake of the abundance of the seas And of treasures hidden in the sand.”
24 And of Asher he said: “Asher is most blessed of sons;
Let him be favored by his brothers, And let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; As your days, so shall your strength be.
26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds.
27 The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’
28 Then Israel shall dwell in safety, The fountain of Jacob alone,
In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens shall also drop dew.
29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,
The shield of your help And the sword of your majesty!
Your enemies shall submit to you, And you shall tread down their high places.”
Genesis 49:13,22,26 – Jacob’s Last Words to His Sons
Ge 49:13 “Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea; He shall become a haven for ships,
22 “Joseph … And by the Almighty who will bless you With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors,
Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.
Isaiah 45:3-4 – Cyrus, God’s Instrument
Is 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.
Deuteronomy 32:13-14 – The Song of Moses
Dt 32:13 “He made him ride in the heights of the earth, That he might eat the produce of the fields;
He made him draw honey from the rock, And oil from the flinty rock;
14 Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, With fat of lambs; And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats,
With the choicest wheat; And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.
Oil and Gas – It used to be said that “Israel is famously low on natural resources” and that the country’s economic stability is largely due to its advanced high-tech and medical sectors. But in recent years things have changed with the discovery of incredibly significant oil and gas reserves. As Israel’s natural resources of gas and oil are developed, they will bring Israel to energy independence, and will even enable Israel to be a net energy exporter.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the gas “a gift from nature” that could earn Israel $60 billion in tax and royalties. A gift from ‘nature’? Some see these natural resources as part of God’s future blessing of Israel. Before Moses died, he blessed the tribes of Israel and some of these blessings involved blessing of the sea and the land. Joseph was to be blessed with ‘precious things from the deep lying beneath’, Asher was to ‘dip his foot in oil’ and Zebulun and Issachar were to find ‘hidden treasures in the sand’. The tribe of Zebulun would live at the seashore and go out in ships to engage in trade and make a profit. Today, this trade could be gas and shale oil.
In 2019, Israel to start pumping gas from Leviathan, making country an energy powerhouse. Located in the Mediterranean Sea 125 kilometers (77 miles) west of Haifa, the Leviathan field is estimated to hold 22 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and a potential half a million barrels of oil, according to estimates provided by the partners in the field. With the flow of the gas, “Israel will reach energy independence, and become an exporter of gas”.
The nearby Tamar field — Israel’s second largest find — started producing gas in 2013 and has been supplying the country. It holds some 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, half of the amount held in Leviathan. These two fields, along with the smaller Karish and Tanin fields that are set to start production in 2021, are seen as a bonanza for a nation that has traditionally been starved of natural resources. They also provide a stable source of locally produced energy from four different fields, leading to a more secure supply that is enough to feed all of Israel’s electricity needs for decades.
Dead Sea Minerals - In addition to the oil and gas, Israel is rich in Dead Sea Minerals. Following thousands of years of evaporation, the Dead Sea now contains some 45,000 million tons of salts rich in minerals. From a health point of view, minerals extracted from the water (such as calcium, magnesium and potassium) are said to improve the metabolism, stimulate circulation and aid in the natural repair of body cells. Some minerals are known to have unique qualities, giving a feeling of relaxation, nourishing the skin, activating the blood systems, healing rheumatic diseases and metabolic disorders. Even Dead Sea mud is believed to have benefits for deep cleansing and stimulation of the skin. Not surprisingly, the Dead Sea area has become a major center for health research and treatment, and thousands of people from all over the world come every year to the Dead Sea for healing, recovery, spa, and cosmetic treatment.
Gold and Diamonds: Gold has been found in Israel since biblical times, and a survey around 1950 claimed that King Solomon’s copper mines had been discovered in Southern Israel. Although Israel does not produce rough diamonds, the country is one of the world’s leading diamond cutting, polishing and trading centers. Companies specialize in large, high-value gemstones.
Israel’s Natural Resources
It is sometimes said that “Israel is famously low on natural resources” and that the country’s economic stability is largely due to its advanced high-tech sector, link. But in recent years things have changed with the discovery of very significant oil and gas reserves. The off-shore Levant gas field could eventually provide Israel with 50 to 200 years of gas at current levels of use, encouraging the construction of a gas pipeline to Europe. When it comes to oil, Israel has one of the world’s largest deposits of shale oil, with a potential of some 250 billion barrels in the Shfela basin. Israel’s mining sector extracts minerals from the Dead Sea (for export via Israel’s southern port of Eilat) and extracts millions of tons of aggregate from Judea & Samaria for the building industry.
Israel’s natural resources: Gas Reserves
In 2010 Israel discovered at least 16 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, link, link. The reserves are in the Levant Basin some 130 km west of Haifa. Two offshore gas fields, the Leviathan and the Tamar, hold the vast majority of Israel’s gas reserves, with more than enough to feed domestic demand, bring down Israel’s electricity costs and have enough gas for export. The most significant find is the Leviathan field, and in 2014 the Israeli government approved plans to supply the Palestinian Authority with natural gas from the Leviathan field once production commences, link.
Looking to the future: Recent discoveries show that Israel is potentially rich in natural resources. The Leviathan could provide $230 billion in gross domestic product to Israel over the life of its exports and more than 20 years of domestic supply, link. It is estimated that Israel may discover 50-200 Tcf of natural gas (and possibly 500-3000 million barrels of oil i.e. up to 3 billion barrels). Some claim the Levant Basin gas field could eventually provide Israel with 50 to 200 years of gas at current levels of use, link. The US Geological Survey (USGS) says these are some of the biggest discoveries worldwide:
“The Levant Basin Province is comparable to some of the other large provinces around the world … its gas resources are bigger than anything we have assessed in the United States” [USGS]
New Gas Pipeline: Israel to Europe
December 2018: Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding to build the world’s longest underwater natural gas pipeline to supply Europe. It will run from Israel’s off-shore gas fields via Cyprus and Greece to Italy, link. There will be high infrastructure costs (around US $6.2 billion) and construction would not begin for several years. It could go online in 2025, link. The project has full support of the EU and aims to produce gas at a price to rival that from Russia. Clearly, this is not good news for Russia, and may be a factor in the coming Russian-Iranian invasion of Israel.
But ever since the Leviathan discovery, Israel has faced serious regulatory and political challenges, link. The Levant Basin is shared by Gaza, Lebanon, Cyprus and the Turkey-dominated Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, leading to maritime disputes. Turkey and Lebanon have challenged Israel’s right to the reserves, and the Israel/Lebanon maritime border in the Levant Basin is disputed (see map) with Lebanon claiming Israel is violating international law, link. Even so, it is claimed about 45% of the Levant Basin falls within Israel’s land and economic waters, link.
Israel’s natural resources: Oil Reserves
Shale Oil: In 2009 an Israeli geologist discovered oil embedded in rock in the ground southwest of Jerusalem. “There’s lots of it — and it could change the Middle East forever” [TIME]
In fact, it turned out that Israel has one of the world’s largest deposits of shale oil, with a potential of some 250 billion barrels in the Shfela basin, link, link. This represents the world’s third-largest quantity of oil shale behind the US and China.
The basin spans Israel and Jordan and shale deposits have been found to the south of Jerusalem, and outside of the West Bank region, see map. Although expensive to extract, Israel is now pioneering shale oil technology. “Tried-and-tested oilfield technologies will be the key to delivering a new era of onshore oil in Israel” [Harold Vinegar, former Shell Oil Company Chief Scientist]. But, as for many shale oil projects, there is opposition on environmental grounds, link.
Oil in the Golan Heights: Recent drilling has found thick oil strata in the Southern Golan Heights north-east of the Sea of Galilee, link. Afek, an Israeli subsidiary of Genie Energy (a US oil company) say the oil strata thickness is ten times the normal world strata thickness, implying a potential production of billions of barrels. This could easily provide all Israel’s oil needs, link, link. Compared to gas finds, which are well off shore, the oil find is relatively close.
But this area is disputed: Israel claims the oil and ignores claims that it legally belongs to Syria, link. Certainly, this area is just outside the 1922 League of Nations sub-division of Palestine, which identified a Jewish homeland and which still legally stands under Article 80 of the UN Charter, see map. Israel only gained the Golan Heights in response to unprovoked Arab attack in June 1967. The combined forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (and later Iraq) aimed to ‘wipe Israel off the map’, but failed. Will this dispute over huge oil deposits provoke the prophesied Gog-Magog invasion of Israel from the north? The Golan Heights or mountains could well be the battle field (Ezek 39.2).
Israel’s natural resources: Dead Sea Minerals
Following thousands of years of evaporation, the Dead Sea now contains some 45,000 million tons of salts rich in minerals, link. This makes the Dead Sea the largest concentration of minerals in Israel. From a health point of view, minerals extracted from the water (such as calcium, magnesium and potassium) are said to improve the metabolism, stimulate circulation and aid in the natural repair of body cells. Some minerals are known to have unique qualities, giving a feeling of relaxation, nourishing the skin, activating the blood systems, healing rheumatic diseases and metabolic disorders. Even Dead Sea mud is believed to have benefits for deep cleansing and stimulation of the skin. Not surprisingly, the Dead Sea area has become a major center for health research and treatment, link, and thousands of people from all over the world come every year to the Dead Sea for healing, recovery, spa, and cosmetic treatment.
The mining sector of Israel extracts magnesium, bromides, phosphates, potassium, calcium and chlorides of sodium, all of which are important for the manufacture of fertilizers and explosives, link. Much of this is extracted from the Dead Sea and exported via Israel’s southern port of Eilat. These exports are significant worldwide. In 2010 Israel’s share of the world’s output of monopotassium phosphate was over 40%, link, and in 2013 her share of the world’s bromine production amounted to 32%, link.
Israel’s natural resources: Mining and Quarrying
Israel’s mining and quarrying sector supplies about 50 million tons of raw material per year for building and road construction, link. The sector supplies sand, gravel, chalk, gypsum, limestone and stone for cladding and flooring. Road construction requires gravel as a sub-grade and filler material, as well as quarry sand and basalt gravel for asphalt mixtures. Some 7-8 million tons of aggregate come from Judea & Samaria. The highlands of Israel and the West Bank are primarily underlain by forms of limestone, and this is quarried for building purposes. Many of the buildings in Jerusalem use forms of white, pink, yellow and tawny limestone (known collectively as Jerusalem stone).
Gold and Diamonds: Gold has been found in Israel since biblical times, and a survey around 1950 claimed that King Solomon’s mines had been discovered in Southern Israel, link. Today, Israel’s natural resources of gold and silver are being estimated by the Dynasty Goldfield Project and the Jerusalem Gold Project, link.
Although Israel does not produce rough diamonds, the country is one of the world’s leading diamond cutting, polishing and trading centers. Companies specialize in large, high-value gemstones, link.
Israel’s Natural Resources: Water
Rainfall Statistics: Israel is a dry land with no large replenishing rivers (like the Nile for Egypt). So, until recently, Israel has been totally dependent upon natural rainfall. In the Golan Heights region (which supplies the Jordan and Lake Galilee) typical annual rainfall is 600-900 mm dropping to around 500 mm in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In the south it drops to only 200 mm at Beer Sheva and a mere 20 mm at Elat, link. In contrast, parts of western and northern England average 1000-1500 mm per year. So, overall, Israel’s total annual renewable natural sources of fresh water are well below the UN definition of water poverty (which is obviously population dependent). According to the UN, when annual water supplies drop below 1,000 cubic meters per person, the population faces water scarcity, and below 500 cubic meters “absolute scarcity”, link. In Israel the renewable fresh water/capita was 327 cubic meters in 1962, falling to just 91 in 2014, link. The corresponding figures for the UK are 2,700 and 2,200. Clearly, Israel’s renewable fresh water is at a premium and existing resources are well over used.
National Water Carrier: As the statistics show, Israel’s surface water is concentrated mainly in the north and east of the country – notably Lake Galilee – which is fed primarily from the Jordan River system. In fact, 80% of Israel’s natural water is in the north and so the National Water Carrier system conveys water from Lake Galilee southwards. The other two main sources of water are the Coastal Aquifer (the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea) and the Mountain Aquifer (under the central north-south Carmel mountain range), both of which are accessed by pumping. It is claimed that these aquifers lie under Palestinian territory (Gaza and the West Bank respectively), link, although this can be disputed on legal grounds.
Desalination: Today, to boost natural rainfall, Israel makes extensive use of desalination plants, reuse of treated sewage for agriculture, computerized early-warning systems for leaks, and computerized drip irrigation and micro-sprinklers. As of 2016, Israel had five desalination plants, the largest (Sorek) producing over 600 million cubic meters of water/year, link. This plant alone provides enough drinking water to supply 1.5 million people!
Israel’s Water Generation From the Air
Air is a ‘natural resource’ and so it only needs clever technology to turn it into a water resource. Watergen, an Israel-based company uses humidity in the air to create clean and fresh drinking water. The heart of the Watergen product line is the revolutionary GENius™ heat-exchange technology. Air is drawn into the Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG), where it is thoroughly cleaned, removing any dust and dirt and leaving only pure air in the system. The clean air is then directed through the heat exchange and cooling process, bringing it to its dew-point – the temperature at which condensation occurs – to create water.
Watergen’s Large Scale unit is an industrial scale AWG, designed for towns, villages, factories, off-grid settlements and communities. It can generate up to 5,000 liters of clean water each day. The first AWG system was installed in New Delhi, India in 2017.
Israel’s Water Generation From the Sea
The desalination method Israel uses in its largest plants is called reverse osmosis (RO), link. In reverse osmosis, saltwater is hurled at a plastic filter with holes big enough only for the water molecules to pass through. Since Na and Cl are too large to fit through the plastic membrane, the salt stays on one side and only pure water reaches the other. The method works because water molecules are much smaller than both Na and Cl atoms.
At Israel’s largest desalination plant two enormous pipes carry in water from the Mediterranean Sea. Once the water reaches the plant, which is called Sorek, it progresses through stacks of RO membranes. Not all of the water makes it through. If it did, you would end up with a hard block of salt stuck to one side of the membrane, which would be very difficult to clean or remove. Instead, some water stays behind with the salt. This leftover water is called brine. Another large pipe carries the brine from the plant back out to sea, where the salt quickly becomes dispersed. After the water has passed through the RO membranes it is fit to drink and used in Israeli homes.
God’s Provision of Natural Resources
When Israel’s natural resources of gas and oil are developed, they will bring Israel to energy independence, and will even enable Israel to be a net energy exporter, link, link. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the gas “a gift from nature” that could earn Israel $60 billion in tax and royalties.
A gift from ‘nature’? Some see these natural resources as part of God’s future blessing of Israel. Before Moses died, he blessed the tribes of Israel and some of these blessings involved blessing of the sea and the land. Joseph was to be blessed with ‘precious things from the deep lying beneath’ (Deut 34.13), Asher was to ‘dip his foot in oil’ (Deut 34.24) and Zebulun and Issachar were to find ‘hidden treasures in the sand’:
For they shall partake of the abundance of the seas and of the treasures hidden in the sand (Deut 33.19)
The tribe of Zebulun would live at the seashore and go out in ships to engage in trade and make a profit. Today, this trade could be gas and shale oil.
Rain: Egypt has the Nile and Iraq has the Euphrates but Israel has no large replenishing rivers like this. Apart from modern desalination plants, Israel (and the River Jordan) is largely dependent upon natural provision from the sky – rain. Israel is dependent on “the heavens” in a very real and practical way. It seems that God chose this dry land so that the people of Israel (His chosen people) had to look to Him for such provision. The apostle Paul acknowledged that God provided Old Testament Israel with “rain from heaven” for their crops (Acts 14.17). Similarly, when it comes to the future (Millennial Israel), the God of Israel promises literal showers of blessings from heaven so that abundant crops will grow:
I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase (Ezek 34.26,27)
Israel to start pumping gas from Leviathan, making country an energy powerhouse
Fuel flow expected to bring energy autonomy along with exports; but drop in global prices, environmental concerns, and Egypt’s new massive natural gas reserves curb the enthusiasm
Natural gas is set to start flowing from the massive Leviathan field off Israel’s shore any day now, an economic milestone for the country that will pave its way to “energy independence” and, via exports, to stronger ties with its neighbors.
Commercial production of natural gas from the field is set to begin before year’s end for the local market, with exports starting shortly thereafter. On Monday, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz signed permits for the export of gas to Egypt, the ministry said in a statement. “This is a historic milestone for the State of Israel,” Steinitz said.
With the flow of the gas, “Israel will reach energy independence, and become an exporter of gas,”said George Hatfield, VP of Major Projects at Noble Energy, at an energy conference in Tel Aviv earlier this month, when the Leviathan partners confirmed that commercial supply would start “within two to three weeks.”
“These are exciting times for Israel,” Hatfield added.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea 125 kilometers (77 miles) west of Haifa, the Leviathan field is estimated to hold 22 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and a potential half a million barrels of oil, according to estimates provided by the partners in the field.
“The start of the flow of gas from Leviathan is a significant event for Israel,” said Terence Klingman, chief investment officer at the Heritage Family Office Partners Ltd., which advises wealthy families on where to invest their funds. Klingman is also a former head of sell-side research at Psagot Investment House, an institutional investor.
The gas supply will help phase out expensive and polluting imported coal, he said, and allow for exports. This will lower energy costs, making Israeli industries more competitive, and bring in revenue from the sale of gas to neighboring countries, boosting the country’s current account, an important indicator of an economy’s health, he said.
Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. and its partners in Leviathan — including Delek Drilling LP, a unit of the Delek Group Ltd., and Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP — discovered the field, one of the largest deep-water natural gas finds in the world, in 2010. The project is the largest funded by private capital in Israel’s history.
“Leviathan is very important for Israel, as it gives it the potential to be an exporter,” said Simon Henderson, Baker fellow and director, Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in emailed comments.
Noble and its partners have invested $3.75 billion to date in the first stage of development of the reservoir, the companies have said. The nearby Tamar field — Israel’s second largest find, also owned by Noble, Delek and Israeli firm Isramco Negev 2, LP — started producing gas in 2013 and has been supplying the country. It holds some 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, half of the amount held in Leviathan.
These two fields, along with the smaller Karish and Tanin fields that are set to start production in 2021, are seen as a bonanza for a nation that has traditionally been starved of natural resources. They also provide a stable source of locally produced energy from four different fields, leading to a more secure supply that is enough to feed all of Israel’s electricity needs for decades.
According to data provided by the Natural Gas Authority, since natural gas from Tamar started to flow, the Israeli market has saved more than $18 billion by switching from coal to natural gas, which is both cheaper and cleaner.
The nation will also start getting royalties from the fields that will grow over the years, once development costs have been deducted, said Noam Pincu, senior analyst at Psagot Securities Ltd., an Israeli institutional investor.
Four production wells at Leviathan, with an average depth of five kilometers below sea level, each have a production capacity of 300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, with a total annual production capacity of around 12 billion cubic meters (bcm). This will more than double the quantity of natural gas produced in Israel today, and be enough to supply the local market and leave a surplus for exports.
“The connection of Leviathan field is really revolutionary for the Israel energy market. It is the largest reservoir off the coast of Israel, a huge reservoir even in international terms,” said Sarah Hadar, chief economist of the Energy Ministry’s Natural Gas Authority, by phone.
Israel’s annual consumption of natural gas in 2019 will total about 11.3 bcm, she said. The Tamar field alone supplies 10 bcm of this – or 92 percent of the fuel consumed by the local market — and Leviathan will make up the rest, with the excess going to exports, she said. Currently the shortfall in natural gas for electricity production is made up by importing it in liquefied form.
“The Israeli energy market relied on just one connection to the shore from Tamar and this only connection is the main source of energy for power electricity in Israel,” said Hadar. “Now we are going to have two connections from Israeli natural gas fields to the natural gas transportation system and we expect three connections with the Karish and Tanin fields, expected to come online in 2021.”
In 2018, 42% of total Israeli energy consumption came from oil and petroleum products, 39% from natural gas, 18% from coal and 1% from renewables, according to the latest available Energy Ministry data. Electricity production came from natural gas (64%); coal (30%); renewable energy (5%) and other (1%) in 2019, the data showed.
Israel’s expected demand for natural gas is expected to grow by some 12% annually between 2020 and 2040, the partners in Leviathan forecast according to a Delek Drilling presentation, reaching 34 bcm in 2040 from just over 11 in 2019, as the nation plans to phase out imports of coal and more industries connect to the natural gas supply for their electricity needs.
The Energy Ministry said last month that the end of the coal era was being brought forward to 2025 from the original date of 2030. Israel will continue to be dependent on imports of oil, however.
Natural gas from Leviathan will be transmitted through two 120-kilometer (75-mile) subsea pipelines directly to a platform for processing. It will then flow from the platform through a pipeline to the national gas transmission system of Israel Natural Gas Lines.
Leviathan will be competing with Tamar for the local market, and prices are expected to drop from over $6 per MMBTU (million British thermal units) — which the nation’s electricity utility, the Israel Electric Corporation, currently pays for Tamar gas — to below $5 per MMBTU in 2021, Psagot’s Pincu said. “This will lower the electricity costs for consumers and industries.”
Exports to Egypt and Jordan
The Leviathan partners have signed two “significant” export contracts with Egypt and Jordan, which will help strengthen ties with the two neighboring countries with which Israel has peace agreements, Pincu said.
Israel has been exporting gas from the Tamar field to Jordan since January 2017, but the Leviathan deals are considered to be bigger and more significant for the economy.
In the deal with Jordan, the Leviathan partners signed a contract, via a specially set up firm, to supply the National Electric Power Company of Jordan with 45 bcm of natural gas over a period of up to 15 years from the commencement of the commercial supply of Leviathan, according to Delek Drilling.
And in October, the partners in the field said they were significantly increasing the quantity of gas in a contract signed with the privately held Egyptian firm Dolphinus Holdings to a total of some 85 billion cubic meters, to be supplied by both the Tamar and the Leviathan fields starting in 2020.
Signing the export permit on Monday, Steinitz, the energy minister, said, “The export of gas to Egypt, from Leviathan and Tamar, is the most significant economic cooperation between Israel and Egypt since the signing of the peace treaty between the countries.”
One source in Israel’s energy industry estimated the value of the gas to be sold to Egypt under the updated contract at a total value of $19.5 billion, Reuters reported.
The start of Leviathan production is making Israel a regional player in the energy industry, said Yael Ravia-Zadok, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Economic Diplomacy Division, speaking at the energy conference earlier this month. This “energy diplomacy” means discourse about natural gas has become an integral part of the regional agenda, she said.
The potential for cooperation around natural gas is “a factor in our diplomacy,” she said.
Even so, a number of developments following the Leviathan find are tempering the jubilation around the start of its production. Since 2010, when the field was discovered, the price of natural gas has plunged globally. Today, renewable energy is cheap and is considered the hottest thing in the global, clean-energy push.
In addition, the collapse of the price of crude oil in this past decade also raises the possibility of any potential black gold beneath Leviathan being left underwater. And, to top it all, Egypt too has found massive resources of offshore gas, making it less dependent on Israel for the fuel.
Prices of natural gas have declined by some 30%-40% in Europe since 2010, when Leviathan was discovered, and by some 60%-70% in the Far East, according to estimates.
This price drop makes the Leviathan project less profitable, and may weigh on the partners’ decision to further develop the field and increase its production quotas.
It will also raise questions about whether it is still economically feasible to build the infrastructure needed — such as pipelines through Cyprus and Greece to Italy, the so-called EastMed pipeline — to get the gas to Europe. The price of the gas would need to be high enough to offset these development costs, something that seems unlikely in a highly competitive price environment.
The price drop in natural gas “impacts the viability of the proposal for a pipeline to Europe,” said the Washington Institute’s Henderson. As it is, that pipeline already requires the discovery of much more local natural gas “before it can become credible,” he said.
The lower price of oil and its fall from grace because of environmental concerns also makes it more challenging for the partners in the Leviathan field to consider drilling for oil anytime soon, as they weigh costs and risks versus rewards. Indeed, at the recent energy conference in Tel Aviv, where the start of production of Leviathan was announced, there was no mention of any oil-drilling plans.
And the glut of oil found in Egypt also makes exports to the nation less likely.
In 2015, the “supergiant” offshore Zohr field was discovered by Italian energy company Eni, which touted it as the largest ever found in the Mediterranean Sea, with the potential of 30 tcf of gas, more than Leviathan. The field started production in 2017, less than two and a half years after its discovery.
Egypt today “has much more gas than Israel,” said the Washington Institute’s Henderson. Even so, he believes Egypt will still need Israel’s fuel to supply two liquefying natural gas plants it has in Idku and Damietta, and this could mean more contracts for Leviathan.
“I expect that Egypt will increase the amount of gas it buys from Israel, but first it needs to expand the pipeline across Sinai or build a new offshore line,” said Henderson.
The green perspective
In November, 112 top scientists, including a Nobel prize laureate, called on the government to abort a plan for a new network of gas-fired power stations, and instead put greater emphasis on moving to renewable energy.
“Natural gas is a cleaner fuel than coal and we welcome the reduction in the utilization of coal, oil and kerosene,” the letter said. “Nonetheless, it would be better if the transition was made directly to renewable energy and not to gas. Gas is a fossil fuel whose combustion releases CO₂ into the atmosphere. The most recent research reports considerable emissions as a result of using natural gas.”
The Energy Ministry’s Hadar said that current renewable energy technologies do not allow the storage of energy, and thus renewable energy cannot be relied upon solely.
“Because, when it is sunny you have energy, and when it is dark, you don’t. And when the wind blows you have some energy and if it doesn’t you don’t have energy,” she said. “So, till we have a system for energy storage from renewables — and all the infrastructure needed and the technology to make sure that Israel can rely on renewables — it is not possible in terms of security of supply” to have the whole market rely solely upon renewables.
Henderson, from The Washington Institute, also believes natural gas is here to stay for the next few decades, at least.
“Coal is history; oil will be the next to cease to be acceptable,” he said. “Natural gas is likely to be a popular fuel for several decades. But yes, renewables will be the eventual future.”
Among the partners in Leviathan, cautious optimism
“Before the end of the year we will start supplying the domestic market, and in the weeks right after that we will export to Egypt and Jordan,” said Binyamin Zomer, VP for Regional Affairs at Noble Energy, which holds a 40% stake in the field.
Referring to the lower cost of natural gas, Zomer said that “Leviathan is a reserve for 30 years.” Prices of energy sources like liquefied natural gas, natural gas and oil “may be higher, they may be lower. In the end, when you have a reserve enough for 30 years, all options are on the table.”
Demand for gas in Egypt continues to be high, Zomer said. Each of the LNG plants in Egypt has a demand similar to the local Israeli demand, and it is possible for Israeli gas to reach Europe via these plants, he said.
“The Leviathan project is in the final stages of development of Phase 1A, which will allow for the annual production of 12 BCM of natural gas,” Delek Drilling said in a text message to The Times of Israel.
“The reservoir’s development plan allows for the production of up to 24 BCM of natural gas in the future, depending on the destination markets (domestic market and export) and the agreements to be signed with them,” the text message said.
Regarding drilling for oil, Delek Drilling added: “As we have reported, we are working on a geologic analysis of the seismic surveys related to an exploration drilling into the deep targets of Leviathan, and a final decision on the matter will be made in the near future, based on the geological findings and the economic feasibility.”
Israel's discovery of offshore natural-gas deposits by a group led by Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. and Netanya, Israel-based Delek Group Ltd. could make the country both energy-independent and a gas exporter. Elliott Gotkine reports on Bloomberg Television's "First Look" with Caroline Hyde. (Source: Bloomberg)
"The implications are very significant also to the Israeli economy and for the state of Israel in large. Now Israel could export the gas to Asia, it could export it to Europe, reducing these regions' dependence on Russia"
Israel’s Big Gusher - Forget olive oil. Israel’s offshore drilling is about to make it the Middle East’s next energy exporter.
It wasn’t long ago that Israel’s oil and gas industry was the territory of wishful thinkers like John Brown, a born-again Christian from Texas who saw a map to oil gushers in readings of the Bible. In the 1980s, I interviewed his site manager, also a born-again Christian, who told me that the Lord had bequeathed oil to his chosen people. In a cluttered cabin in the hills of central Israel, the rangy Texan leafed through his copy of the Bible and read me Deuteronomy 33:24: “Of Asher he said, More blessed than sons is Asher. May he be favored by his brothers, and may he dip his foot in oil.”
Asher and his descendants hadn’t found oil, the prospector said, but they just didn’t know where to look—or have the tools we have today. For guidance, he pointed to another verse, Deuteronomy 32:12-13: “The Lord alone guided him, and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he ate the produce of the field. And He made him suck honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock.”
“High places—rock—there’s oil here somewhere,” the prospector continued, throwing his arms wide to include all the hills and forests and distant sea. However, after years of searching the desert and rocky wastes, he confessed: “Maybe I got it wrong. Maybe they meant olive oil.”
Israel is blessed in the olive oil department but from its founding had no choice but to import all of its energy—oil, gas, and coal. Golda Meir often joked that God had guided the Jewish people through the desert to the only land in the Middle East with no oil. To date, little on-shore oil has been found, although there is still hope. But after many failed attempts by offshore drilling companies, a young Israeli lawyer named Gideon Tadmor got it right. Egypt, he theorized, had discovered commercial quantities of natural gas in the Mediterranean, and there was no reason the gas fields would stop at Israel’s maritime border.
In 1991, Tadmor, who had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, founded Avner Energy with his uncle, David Cohen. “When I finished law school, I gave the diploma to my mother,” he says. “I told her, ‘Now hang it on the wall and leave me—let me live my own life.’ ”
Today, looking back, justifiably smug and a good deal wealthier, the 50-year-old Tadmor partly echoes the faith of his Christian predecessors: “Obviously we needed luck and God’s help. We needed the resources to be underground. But I think the unique contribution that we were able to bring is the human spirit and belief.”
More than that, Tadmor needed experience and money, and because he wanted to drill deep into the seabed, far offshore, he sought investment from the Texan oil giants. Nobody bit; they were afraid, he believes, of upsetting their much bigger Arab customers. Finally a small Houston-based company, with no Arab clients, known today as Noble Energy, agreed to supply most of the capital, the drilling technology, and the analytic skills needed to interpret seismic data used to determine good places to drill.
Tadmor’s company, with partners Noble and the Israeli Delek Group, found several small gas fields and then two large ones, propelling Israel into a new energy realm: Today, Israel’s known gas reserves are 30 trillion cubic feet (tcf), and the United States Geological Survey says there’s at least twice that amount still to be discovered in Israeli waters. That exceeds Israel’s energy needs for the next 30 to 50 years. Moreover, the USGS predicts there are 1.7 billion barrels of oil gas basins as well.
Tadmor and his partners control almost all the gas, but there is no doubt that the new energy industry will revolutionize Israel’s economy, as well as provide the country with greater strategic and political clout. But the new discoveries have also opened up a Pandora’s box of thorny social, financial, security, and foreign policy concerns.
In 2009, Tadmor and Noble hit upon their first “gusher,” the Tamar reservoir (9 tcf), 56 miles off Israel’s coast. It took $3.25 billion and four years from conception to operation of their first platform using equipment manufactured in Corpus Christi, Texas, and hauled across 7,000 miles of sea. The natural gas—which lies under at least 5,000 feet of water and more than a mile beneath the seabed—began flowing in March 2013.
The timing was fortuitous. In 2005, Israel had signed a 15-year agreement with the Egyptian government to buy natural gas. But with the advent of the Arab Spring, the pipeline traversing the Sinai repeatedly fell victim to Arab saboteurs, leading to electricity shortages in Israel. Then in 2012, Cairo canceled the agreement altogether. The loss of the Egyptian gas turned out to be only a minor crisis, and one easily bridged by a few months of gas imported via tankers.
Already, the Tamar field supplies the bulk of Israel’s natural gas needs, including 40 percent of electric power. The gas is funneled by natural pressure more than 100 miles through two pipelines to the Tamar platform. It is then piped to a terminal onshore in Ashdod to be fed to several power stations, which convert the gas into electricity to power Israel’s electric grid.
In 2010, a year after finding the Tamar field, Noble discovered the much larger Leviathan reservoir (17 tcf) about 80 miles off the coast of Haifa. Once Leviathan comes on line, around 2017, Tadmor and his partners will be able to do far more than provide Israel’s energy needs. The potential financial windfall has Israel’s economists and politicians starry-eyed. “Israel will soon be a net exporter of energy, and this is a tremendous boost to the Israeli economy and will therefore strengthen its political, geopolitical, and diplomatic position in that part of the Middle East,” says Simon Henderson, a Middle East energy analyst and senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “This is a big deal. Most people don’t realize what a big deal this is.”
Nevertheless, Henderson says, the finds need to be put in perspective. “The amount of gas in Israel is not big in terms of the world,” he says. “This doesn’t mean that Israel is going to have bigger energy resources than Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, or Iran, even if Israel discovers all the gas—and oil—predicted. Iran, for example, currently has nearly 1,200 tcf, compared to Israel’s 30 tcf. Israel’s potential reserves may be only as high as 100 tcf.”
Still, Israel is wrestling with how this newfound wealth should be used. Having made huge investments, oil and gas companies such as Noble are eager for high returns made possible by exports. In response, last June, the Israeli Cabinet decided to allocate 60 percent for domestic use and to export the rest. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the gas “a gift from nature” that could earn Israel $60 billion in tax and royalties.
The 40 percent export figure is way too high for some critics. Knesset member Tamar Zandberg, one of the most vocal opponents of the government’s plans for its gas windfall, worries that too much of the export income will go to the military, which already consumes nearly 20 percent of Israel’s budget, more than other Western nations. “Poverty is a bigger threat than security right now to Israel,” she says. “Prices are going up, salaries are going down, and social services like, for example, housing are being neglected. We should build a more viable and a more sustainable economy. And this is something that the natural gas can truly help us do.” Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, has called for spending the new revenue on education. “We’ve now found gas, let’s invest in the most important thing, in children,” Peres said over the summer.
Critics claim the 60-40 decision was pushed through the Cabinet without the necessary parliamentary approval, but they lost when they challenged the Cabinet decision in the Supreme Court. While public debate rages over how the money should be spent, economists warn of the potential inflationary impact of injecting billions of shekels annually into the Israeli economy. Stanley Fischer, the former head of the Bank of Israel (who is reported to be in line for the No. 2 position at the U.S. Federal Reserve), has warned that Israel must avoid “the Dutch disease” by not allowing the money to flow too rapidly into the economy. This was the mistake the Netherlands made in the 1960s when it discovered gas. Revenue from gas exports pushed the Dutch guilder so high that the country’s other exports became too expensive to compete in international markets.
Then there’s the more positive example of Norway, which exports 87 percent of its gas and invests every dollar earned not in current projects but in a sovereign fund to benefit future generations. Today, with about $750 billion in assets, the country of 5 million people—fewer than Israel—has what is considered the largest sovereign fund in the world, which will fund the country long after its gas and oil reserves run dry. Investment of Israel’s gas export earnings in a similar sovereign fund could prevent the shekel from becoming too strong and hurting Israel’s other exports.
Israel has established a sovereign fund to invest abroad, and gas-related contributions are expected to begin in 2017. Bank Leumi’s chief economist Gil Bufman, however, is concerned that capital is already flowing into the economy faster than it is going out and would like to see the government build up the fund now. But with so many competing demands for investment at home—in the military, in national infrastructure, and in social welfare, it is unlikely this will occur. It is even possible the $1 billion to $2 billion per annum cash windfall could be spent before it is earned.
Israel can’t earn money from its gas bonanza unless it finds a way to export it, and all its options present myriad obstacles. “In oil and gas terminology,” says Henderson, “the gas, which is hard to get to and hard to get out, is called ‘trapped gas.’ I have also heard gas in the eastern Mediterranean referred to as being ‘diplomatically trapped.’ ”
Surrounded by hostile or unfriendly Arab nations, Israel is in a particularly tough position: It cannot export gas-generated power simply by transmitting the electricity through its neighbors’ power grids. One alternative is through pipelines.
With a large economy and a growing demand for energy, Turkey would be a natural pipeline terminus and would provide access to Europe, another major market. Several Turkish energy companies, seeking alternatives to expensive Russian gas, have expressed interest in acquiring rights to future production from the Leviathan field. However, Turkey’s current frayed political relations with Israel cloud prospects for an Israel-Turkey pipeline. In addition, Russia, a major exporter of natural gas to both Turkey and Europe, is wary of possible Israeli competition.
Another possible customer that could be reached by a long, albeit expensive, pipeline is Greece, which would give Israel another entry point to Europe. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ state visit to Jerusalem in October, which included discussions of energy infrastructure projects with both countries’ environment ministers, signaled significant improvement in the prospects for joint Israel-Greece cooperation. But even if cash-strapped Greece were able to raise the money for its share of investment, a Greco-Israel pipeline could enrage Turkey.
A more practical pipeline destination is Jordan, and Noble Energy sources say they are looking in this direction. “Jordan is in the most immediate need and would be the first client” for Israel, said Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan, commenting on negotiations last summer. Although more far-reaching proposals are under consideration, he noted that a pipeline connecting existing pipeline facilities on the Israeli shore of the Dead Sea to the Jordanian side could be completed “relatively quickly” and would “have great symbolic value both for Noble and Israel.”
Interestingly, another country in need of Israel’s gas is Egypt. Although Egypt has larger reserves than Israel, domestic demand, currently subsidized by the government, is high. Such a transaction, however, is unlikely given Egypt’s internal political situation, although discussions about the possibility of changing the direction of the Sinai pipeline are underway.
Israel will need to diversify distribution. Another option is to convert natural gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) and ship it by specially built tankers that can travel long distances. LNG is more flexible than pipelines and expands the constellation of potential markets, but tankers require construction of large, hugely expensive facilities ($5 billion and up, depending on size). An LNG terminal in Eilat would allow tankers to reach Europe and even more lucrative markets in Asia through the Red Sea. But there are risks: Terrorists could attack the tankers and enemy warships could seal the narrow Straits of Tiran. Passage through the Suez Canal, though technically protected by treaty, could be tricky if Egypt chooses not to cooperate. Another option is for Israel to liquefy its gas in Egypt, which has LNG plants with excess capacity, but this, too, may not be possible politically.
The Tamar platform, a massive structure weighing 34,000 tons and almost as high as the Eiffel Tower, is a sitting duck for Israel’s enemies. Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have warned that Israel’s gas industry could be a strategic target. In response, the Tamar rig bristles with secret warning and defense systems, and the Israeli navy routinely patrols nearby, armed with anti-rocket defenses. In October, the navy ordered three domestically built fast-attack boats, and in December it ordered two German frigates to strengthen its presence. These are just the first concrete manifestations of a host of new security ramifications that come with being an energy-wealthy Middle Eastern nation.
Disputes over gas reserves have become de rigueur in the eastern Mediterranean. Although most of Israel’s known reserves sit within its maritime borders, Lebanon, with whom Israel is technically at war, claims a maritime border encroaching on Israel’s exclusive economic zone. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has warned Israel that Lebanon has the right to retaliate against Israel over gas and oil interests. Syria and the Palestinian Authority have put forward their own claims to some of the gas. Meanwhile, Turkey and Cyprus, still bitter over their 1974 war over northern Cyprus, are also arguing about gas ownership. And hovering darkly over it all is Turkey, which also wants a slice of the pie.
Israel’s “new visibility” to other regional energy players raises the potential for conflict on numerous fronts, says David Wurmser, a Washington political risk consultant and one-time adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney. The situation is “complex” and “extremely dangerous,” says Wurmser.
Pinchas Avivi, director of strategic planning in Israel’s foreign ministry, would like nothing more than a Lebanese equivalent of the Tamar platform, funneling gas and money to Lebanon. “Then they would need stability as much as we do,” he says. “Economy is the first and most important means of diplomacy today. When everybody has gas, everybody will have the same interest to keep the arena calm. I can see many more possibilities of cooperation than danger.”
At least four major competitors are staking their claim: Israel Lebanon, Turkey and Cyprus all want a piece. But with no clearly defined maritime borders, the fight could be lengthy, bitter and even bloody.
Israel’s Water Revolution and Its Overflow for the World
With drought and other water scarcity issues making headlines in China, India and the US, it is clear that quenching the planet's growing thirst will be an enormous challenge in coming years
With drought and other water scarcity issues making headlines in places like China, India and in the United States — especially in California — it is clear that quenching our world’s growing thirst for water will be an enormous challenge which all of us will face in the coming years.
My country, Israel — situated in the arid Middle East — was until recently one of those countries facing a dire water crisis. From the nascent days of the state, Israel was faced with the challenge of supplying enough water for its burgeoning population. Many said it couldn’t be done.
Yet today, on the heels of a 7-year drought, Israel has achieved the impossible: water-independence. Israel now produces 20% more water than it consumes, surpassing the needs of more than eight million citizens, leaving enough water to export to its neighbors and a wealth of knowledge to export throughout the world. Furthermore, the water sector in Israel is almost economically self-sufficient.
To help share Israel’s technological know-how to drought-struck California, Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry will be hosting the Israel-California Water Conference this June 29th in Marina Del Ray. The conference aims to promote a comprehensive and practical approach toward a sustainable water future for the state. By bringing together leaders from the California and Israeli business communities, government authorities, academia, and a wide spectrum of water technology experts, the ICWater Conference hopes to accelerate technology partnerships, explore project finance and business models and promote policy initiatives that will position California as a leader in water stewardship.
Below is a look at five cornerstones of Israel’s water revolution, much of which can be applied to the Golden State’s own water challenges. Our hope is that California and other states around the world will begin their own water revolutions as well, ushering in a new age of water management and conservation across the planet.
Education and Conservation: Israeli children are taught in preschool the importance of conserving water. Only use as much water as you need, they are told, because every drop is precious. The knock-on effect of teaching water conservation to children is that not only will they carry these values throughout their lives, but they also influence their friends, parents and grandparents to conserve as well. And this type of education extends beyond our youth. During Israel’s latest drought, which peaked in 2009-10, the Israel Water Authority ran a TV ad campaign (Hebrew) encouraging Israelis to conserve as much as possible.
Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse: Israel currently reuses 86% of its wastewater (slated to reach 95% by 2025), using the processed water to serve the country’s significant agricultural sector (Spain comes in a distant second, reusing around 25% of its reclaimed water). 60% of Israel’s fruit and vegetables are grown using recycled, purified water. This significantly frees up other water resources for drinking and other uses. The entire process is very clearly regulated and supervised by the Israel Water Authority and the Israeli Ministries of Health and Agriculture.
Government Policy: Keeping in mind that water is a precious commodity belonging to all its citizens, Israel passed legislation early on declaring that by law, every drop of water that falls from the sky or is found in its lakes, seas or underground aquifers belongs to the State. Individuals, farmers and businesses in Israel do not have rights to water from rivers or lakes on or next to their property, nor or any other natural water rights. This legislation innately led to centralized control of the country’s water resources and greatly reduced endless inefficiencies created by competing water districts. Other actions that the government has taken to provide for a secure water supply include the development of a nation-wide water collection/ reservoir system and a mandatory requirement where any new toilet installed in Israel is “dual-flush,” cutting almost in half the amount of water used per person per flush — a significant amount of water saved from going down the drain. Admittedly, many of these steps cannot be applied in places where the system is structured otherwise, but the benefits of centralized control over this precious commodity need to be recognized, and, when possible, implemented.
Water and Agricultural Technology: Israel’s reputation as the “Start-Up Nation” extends to innovations in water and agriculture technology, areas in which our country is considered a world-leader. For example, drip irrigation was invented in Israel and has become the local standard for watering crops, with upwards of 75% of Israeli farms using the technology. Drip irrigation is far superior than any other process with 90-95% efficiency and a noted increase in crop yield. These advances are catching on around the globe. Israeli drip systems account for 50% of the world’s low-pressure irrigation systems. Nevertheless, despite its proven benefits for water conservation and increased yield, only 5% of farms worldwide use drip irrigation (many using outdated flooding techniques instead).
Desalination: Another significant Israeli contribution to the global water challenge is desalination. Israel is a world-leader in desalination technology. Israeli companies built and operate five desalination plants providing over 25% of the nation’s water supply and 80% of household water — one of the key factors in helping solve our water crisis. This has not gone unnoticed by the world. Israeli companies have installed more than 350 desalination plants in close to 40 countries, including the new Carlsbad plant in San Diego, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, producing enough water to meet the needs of approximately 400,000 people.
Israel’s water revolution was based on necessity. We understood that if significant measures were not taken to fundamentally change the way we consume and manage this precious resource, our future would run dry. Israel, on the frontlines of the global water revolution, is eager to work with countries worldwide so that we all have enough water for generations to come.
As they say, 'water is life', with its shortage continuing to fuel conflicts around the world. Since the mid-20th century, the planet has seen nearly 180 disputes connected to water resources, and among the latest is the problem in Egypt.
For centuries, the protection of natural resources has been tied to wars and conflicts around the world. So it's unsurprising that when Ethiopia, the source of around 85 percent of the Nile's water, raised the possibility of building a high dam on the Blue Nile, some Egyptian experts suggested going to war with the country.
"If you cut water we'd be dying" political scientist at the American university in Cairo, Said Sadek, told RT. "We have to remember that Egypt has only 6-7 percent of arable land. The western Egyptian territory is a desert, so that can be a serious problem, affecting national security."
By 2050 Egypt will contain 150 million people and the country will need an extra 21 billion cubic meters of water in addition to the current 55.5 billion, Sadek noted.
In June, Ethiopia's parliament ratified a treaty that grants permission to upstream countries to implement irrigation and hydropower projects without Egypt's approval. The agreement replaces a colonial-era treaty which granted Egypt and Sudan the majority of Nile River water rights.
'Intl law has no answer to water disputes'
Journalist and commentator on the Middle East Adel Darwish told RT that in this case international law proves itself inadequate in defending the equal use of shared water.
"The international law is not clear about water and water usage. If it's a river it's a different law from whether it's a lake or a sea. So when water crosses borders then you have reasons for conflicts because international law is not clear on what to do on water disputes."
Nations should rationally share their common supplies and not politicize their disputes, he added.
"Now between Egypt and Ethiopia a very dangerous situation is about to explode because the Egyptian, the Sudanese and the Ethiopians are playing a political game rather than trying to find an economic investment that is a win-win for everybody.
Perhaps the Sudanese and the Egyptians should give the Ethiopians some type of subsidized crops, grains, give them even subsidized power so they would build a smaller dam rather than building a huge one. Politics seem to be blinding politicians to see the actual economic needs that could divert the conflict."
Among other conflicts is the problem in Syria as its major water sources travel through Turkey and Iraq , making the country vulnerable, Darwish noted.
"You have the whole area of Syria, Iraq and Turkey that nearly came into conflict with each other in the late 1980s when the Turkish had the Southern Anatolia project, the Ataturk Dam. We don't know what the outcome of the Syrian war is going to be. We might actually have some kind of a hostile regime to Turkey, so the Turks could use some kind of water weapon there."
Growing population and industrial demands have tripled water withdrawals around the world over the last 50 years, UN figures show. As the world's per capita water supply is expected to drop by one third in the next 20 years, the worst strain will be in Africa and the Middle East.
Dead Sea Minerals
THE ABUNDANT WEALTH OF THE DEAD SEA
God dug a tremendous hole in the earth many years ago to use in storing a treasure for His people which staggers the imagination. Yes, the lowest elevation on the earth’s surface is the Dead Sea. The way God arranged things, the Jordan River and its tributaries have been washing minerals down into that hole which God prepared, for thousands of years, and in recent years it has been found to be the most valuable depository of strategic chemicals in the world. George T.B. Davis, that great man of God who led the Million Testaments Campaign many years with its famous “Prophecy Edition of the New Testament has written in his book, “Rebuilding Palestine,” that “One is almost staggered by the computed wealth of the chemical salts in the Dead Sea. It is estimated that the potential value of the potash, bromine and other chemical salts of its water is FOUR TIMES the wealth of the United States.” With the tremendous world-wide food shortage that threatens mankind, any would-be dictator would take high risks to capture a treasure like this which could furnish enough fertilizer for the whole world, and with its other chemicals provide the explosives needed to subdue all its enemies!
Why, do you think, has the Kremlin spent billions helping the Arabs fight Israel? Just because she likes the Arabs?
No, there is little love lost between them, but Russia wants the riches of Israel and its strategic location for world domination. The Arabs outnumbered Israel fifty to one, and it seemed a simple way to get what she wanted, The Soviets would have little trouble taking it from the Arabs if those Arabs couldn’t even hold their own against little Israel. But the Godless gang in the Kremlin never took into consideration that our Creator has it all written down in His Book what His plans are for Israel, and the disposal of her enemies. When Israel finally accepts her Messiah (” a nation born in a day”) the nations of the earth will be beating a path to her door for those chemicals which mean life to them, God unfolded this secret through Isaiah. In the 60th Chapter, Isaiah is comforting suffering Israel with a glimpse of what God has in store for them. In verse 2 he tells us that “…the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” In the next verses God shows that the nations of the earth will all gather together and come to Israel, and in the fifth verse He tells them WHY; “Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; BECAUSE THE ABUNDANCE OF THE SEA SHALL BE CONVERTED UNTO THEE, THE FORCES OF THE GENTILES SHALL COME UNTO THEE.” Yes, some day all nations will need what Israel has and barter their most treasured possessions for it!
A few years ago it looked as though the Kremlin was having all its own way with making a mighty alliance out of Soviet-Arab facilities. Thousands of her scientists swarmed over as advisors, and she spent billions in arms for the Arabs and the completion of the great Aswan Dam on the Nile. But the Egyptians soon were fed up with the arrogance of the Soviet swarm within its borders and finally ordered them out! The men in the Kremlin saw the handwriting on the wall as little Israel so badly trounced her foe time and time again, and she began plotting to do the job herself. They began preparing for a tremendous invasion force to go down over the mountains of Syria to seize Israel.
For years people had laughed at the prophecy that after God destroyed that great army in the mountains that are in the northern part of Israel, that Israel would not have to buy fuel for seven years. She would be burning the weapons of her enemy. Only recently has it been known that the tanks and weapons of this army are made of non-metallic materials which burn like coal, to thwart the Israeli metal-seeking tactical atomic missiles!
Reuters News Agency has reported large Russian purchases of special archery equipment from England, so powerful and accurate that it can shoot an arrow through a man’s heart at 100 yards and it will keep on going! It is no secret that Russia has bought up large numbers of horses recently, of a type best adapted for military invasion through mountains. How wonderful the way improbable Bible prophecies are coming true these days! Who would have dreamed of a literal fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecies of bows and arrows and horses figuring into this great battle when Russia and her satellite armies are destroyed by God in a cataclysm from the sky! Study Ezekiel 38 and 39 for God’s version of what will happen to the Russian armies.
Christians, this is not a pipe dream. These are carefully authenticated facts, which fit perfectly into the pattern of Bible prophecy. Let’s get busy while there is yet time, with tracts and personal witness, rescuing those who still need to receive Christ as Saviour before it is too late and His prophesied judgments come. Unsaved friend, the day of grace is still here, but it may be gone tomorrow or next week. Repent of your sins and ask Christ to take over in your heart and life, and He will, for He said, “Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.” But this is today’s opportunity. This same Saviour, now gracious and forgiving, is soon to be the JUDGE, Who, when the day of grace is over will sternly say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41.
Adapted from Book Fellowship International.
The Dead Sea - the lowest point on earth, and one of nature's greatest wonders.
It's story began millions of years ago when the Earth's crust cracked, creating the Great Rift Valley. The special climate conditions, combined with the bursts of underground salty springs, created the ancient valley. A hyper-saline lake unlike any other in the world, with 34% solid mineral content - 10 times more than any other sea or ocean. This mineral content held a power like no other. This is the natural magnificence of the Dead Sea.
Its beauty and healing properties became known around the world; coveted by many who voyage to its captivating shores to bask in its skin revitalizing waters. Even Queen Cleopatra made the Dead Sea her own private spa. For thousands of years, millions of visitors have come to witness the breathtaking landscape and to experience the wonders of the Dead Sea region - nature's greatest spa. But this is only the beginning of the legend.
In 1988, driven by their love for the region and deep passion to unearth its mysteries, the mineral skincare brand Ahava was created. From the beginning, Ahava based its products on research and science, constantly analyzing and studying the Dead Sea environment. Ahava sought to understand how the Dead Sea's mineral-rich waters, salt crystals, mud deposits and hardy plant life could have such profound effects on the skin.
The first of Ahava’s scientific breakthroughs took place in 1989. Ahava scientists noticed that people who lived and worked in the area would bathe in a shallow pool that was naturally disconnected from the Dead Sea. Ahava scientists took a water sample from the pool to analyze its mineral composition and found that it was perfect. The sample extract was rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium and bromine - the most essential minerals for supporting the skin's health. They discovered a 100% natural element with the power to elevate the skin's flow of nutrients from within.
Ahava, scientists named it osmoter, which literally helps to restore the skins moisture. Ahava is the sole source of osmoter and it is the foundation of each and every one of its products. Ahava 's product lines are a fusion of pure natural minerals and advanced technologies to answer the various skin concerns and meet skin needs due to physical changes it undergoes with age.
Today Ahava is the Dead Sea minerals beauty authority, and its products are marketed in over 30 countries through prestige chains, department stores and perfumeries, in addition to local and international concept stores. In the lowest place on earth, the wonders of nature are being packed and delivered to the world, carrying the message of love, health and beauty.
Ahava’s mission is to deliver the virtues of the Dead Sea by harnessing its most extraordinary ingredients and creating innovative face
and body products to consumers worldwide.