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Natural Gas Issues Inflame Palestinian-Israeli Dispute

By Charles Kennedy | Thu, 16 June 2011 02:13 | 0

Massive potential natural gas fields off the Gaza Strip in the Mediterranean are complicating Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations.

Earlier this week Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructure authorized Noble Energy, a crude oil and gas exploration U.S. based company based in New York, to begin developing a natural gas field off the Gaza Strip coastline, the Palestine News Network reported.

In authorizing the development work Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructure maintains that the decision to grant approval was made in following Israel’s severe shortage of natural gas supplies in the wake of cessation of natural gas supplies from Egypt following a 27 April explosion damaged a gas terminal at El Arish in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a key link in the pipeline that carried natural gas from Egypt's Nile Delta to Israel.

British Gas has already established two offshore natural gas wells, Gaza Marine 1 and Gaza Marine 2. According to British Gas, the natural reservoir off Gaza is estimated to contain 1.5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas with an estimated net worth of approximately $4 billion.

Fatah official Dmitry Dliani stated that the Israeli Ministry of Infrastructure’s decision was in fact a license to steal Gaza’s natural gas reserves and demanded international protection for the Palestinian natural gas reservoir off Gaza.

By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com

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