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The Gaza Conflict Puts Israel's Natural Gas Future At Risk

natural gas

When it discovered the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields offshore in the Mediterranean’s Levant Basin, Israel gained lots of regional diplomatic leverage overnight. Soon, it would (and did) have gas, both for domestic use and export, giving it a status it had never known before. Tel Aviv has used that gas to build powerful relations in the region, and relations have been on a path toward normalization ever since. 

In 2022, Israel signed a gas deal with Egypt for natural gas exports to Europe. Israel is currently in talks with Greece and Cyprus about a Cyprus-based terminal to liquefy Israeli gas for export to Europe. The Israelis have also considered a pipeline to Turkey and building their own liquefaction plant. If relations with Turkey were strained before, they will be so much more so now. The world can assume that the Greece-Cyprus deal is now the only option. 

The Tamar field produces up to 8.5 million cubic meters per day. It was shut down when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. If it goes on much longer, Israel could end up declaring force majeure. It’s a big hit for Chevron, which had in December made an FDI to increase Tamar’s production in two phases, up to 1.6 Bcf/d in 2025.

Leviathan (a field twice as big as Tamar) produces up to 300 million cubic meters per day. Both send exports to Egypt. The shutdown of Tamar will also affect Egypt’s LNG exports, which were already lagging. And Leviathan could end up making up for the shortfall, though Israel…

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