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Israel is concerned by reports that a delivery of Russian, supersonic anti-ship missiles are en-route to Syria, especially by the possibility that Lebanon’s Hezbollah could get its hands on the warheads, potentially providing a huge threat to its offshore natural gas fields.
In March Israel began production from its second largest gas field, the Tamar field off the coast of northern Israel. The development of the field, which is estimated to have reserves of 8-11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, is handled by a joint operation between Nobel Energy, Delek Group, Isramco, and Dor Alon.
The largest Israeli natural gas reserve is the Leviathan field a little further out to sea; it is estimated to contain around 20 trillion cubic feet and will begin producing gas in 2014.
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These offshore fields are considered to be a high priority strategic asset for Israel, which, since its founding in 1948 has had to rely on imports for most of its energy needs. The development of the two giant fields over the next few years is expected to not only supply Israel with enough gas to meet its own energy needs, but also turn the Jewish state into an energy exporter; which will then create revenues that will be vital to developing the country’s infrastructure and economy.
It means that the fields are incredibly important to Israel’s future, making them an enticing target to the nations many enemies, of which Hezbollah is the primary threat.
With the advanced Russian P-800 Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles on their way to Syria, Hexbollah could launch attacks against Israel from its stronghold in southern Lebanon.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com