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Israel will no longer issue permits for onshore oil exploration, Energy Minister Karine Elharrar said on Wednesday at a committee hearing of the Israeli Parliament, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Ehud (Udi) Adiri, director general at the energy ministry, also said that Israel would import only electric vehicles (EVs) beginning in 2030.
The energy minister of Israel – not a big oil producer, but a large natural gas producer – already said last month that the country would stop issuing permits for onshore oil exploration as it would look to focus on renewable energy sources.
Israel currently has five onshore oil production licenses and three onshore oil exploration permits.
Elharrar, appointed energy minister in the new Israeli government in June, also believes that natural gas – which Israel is producing offshore and exporting to some countries in the Middle East and the Mediterranean – is only a temporary solution to energy demand.
“Oil is a highly polluting fuel that has no place in a country that is doing everything to reduce the use of coal and understands that [fossil fuel] gas is also only an intermediate solution until we can rely on renewable energies,” Elharrar said.
The new energy minister differs from her predecessor Yuval Steinitz, who strongly supported Israel’s offshore gas industry.
Israel has bet big on the largest gas field offshore the country, the Leviathan gas field, the biggest energy project in Israel ever.
More recently, Israel put on hold a major oil pipeline deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over environmental concerns.
Israel has environmental concerns over a request it is currently assessing to increase the volumes of oil passing through the country, Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg told Reuters last week. The Israeli government will decide “within weeks” whether to grant the request for increased oil transportation through its territory, the minister added.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.