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Israel Approves Gas Field Development Offshore Gaza Strip

Israel has decided that the Gaza Marine natural gas field offshore Gaza should be developed, subject to security coordination with the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, Israel’s government said on Sunday.

“In the framework of the existing efforts between the State of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority (PA), with emphasis on Palestinian economic development and maintaining security stability in the region, it has been decided to develop the Gaza Marine gas field off the coast of Gaza,” the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

The potential development of the field – estimated to hold more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – is subject to coordination between the security services and direct dialogue with Egypt, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added.

The development of Gaza Marine also hinges on “the completion of inter-ministerial staff work led by the National Security Council, in order to maintain the security and diplomatic interests of the State of Israel on the matter,” the Israeli Prime Minister's Office noted.

Last month, Israeli media reported that top Israeli and Palestinian security officials were discussing the potential development of the gas field offshore Gaza. Israel and the Palestinian Authority have held a series of security summits in recent months, in Aqaba, Jordan, and in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. 

Egypt and Israel have large producing gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, including the giant Zohr field offshore Egypt and the Leviathan and Tamar fields in Israeli waters.

But natural gas developments offshore Gaza have been an on-and-off topic in recent decades, due to the frequent flare-ups in the Gaza Strip and clashes between Israel and Palestinians.

Commenting on the Israeli statement from Sunday, a Palestinian official told Reuters, “We are waiting to know what exactly the Israelis have agreed to in details. We can’t make a position based on a statement to the media.”

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The development of Gaza Marine could raise significant revenues for the Palestinian Authority.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on June 19 2023 said:
    Israel has no right whatsoever to develop the Gaza Marina natural gas field offshore which is located within the Gaza offshore Exclusive Economic Zone EEZ). Any involvement by Israel is subject to authorization by Hamas.

    According to Maritime Law, it was legally under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority as a result of the Oslo Accords. However Israeli forces have prevented Palestinians physical access to the resources available offshore.

    And since the Palestinian Authority has no authority over the Gaza Strip which is under the sole authority of Hamas, then the development of the field comes under the authority of Hamas and therefore any future revenues should go to the coffers of Hamas for the running and development of the Gaza Strip.

    The field has enough natural gas to supply the Palestinian territories and still have a surplus for export, making the Palestinian territories more energy independent.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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