RAMALLAH — The Palestinian Authority on Monday announced that it signed a deal with the drilling partners behind Israel’s large gas reservoir to get natural gas for an upcoming power plant in the West Bank for 20 years.
Omar Kittaneh, chairman of Palestine’s Energy Authority, said that he signed the agreement with the Texas-based Noble Energy Inc. and the latter’s Israeli partners to extract gas from Israel’s newly-discovered Leviathan gas and oil field.
Kittaneh said that under the deal, the Palestinian Authority will obtain 4.75 billion cubic meters of gas with $1.2 billion to run a $300 million power plant the Palestine Power Generation Company plans to build near the West Bank city of Jenin.
Yitzhak Tshuva, whose Delek Group is one of the Israeli partners, told the Israeli Radio that the group will sell the Palestinians the gas when the Leviathan reserve begins to yield in 2016 or 2017.
The Leviathan field, located about 130 kilometers west of Haifa, is considered to be the biggest deepwater gas find of the century worldwide, with an estimated reserve of 537 billion cubic meters of gas. Leviathan’s smaller, 280 billion cubic meters to its east, Tamar, began generating gas for the Israeli domestic market in March 2013. Tshuva said that he believes “a strong and stable economy shared by the two sides will bring peace and stability to the entire region, so that everyone will enjoy prosperity and economic growth.” The Israeli Channel 2 television reported on Sunday that Israeli Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom recently traveled to Jordan to promote a gas deal with the Hashemite Kingdom. The Delek Group has said that it plans to export some of the natural gas to Europe via pipelines to Jordan, Turkey and Egypt, as well as the Palestinian Authority. Ahead of the resumption of peace talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry introduced a $4 billion economic plan to revitalize the Palestinian economy.
According to Kerry, the plan will focus on developing the Palestinian private economy, a key ingredient for economic independence.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said several times that peace with the Palestinians must grow from economic cooperation, using the term “economic peace.”
The Palestinian leadership rejected of Netanyahu’s plan saying it is aimed at “diverting the world’s attention from the (Palestinian) political rights.
(Source / 06.01.2014)