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Israel Bolsters Navy to Protect Offshore Oil and Gas Zone

(REUTERS) – TEL AVIV Israel is boosting spending on its navy to better protect offshore oil and gas deposits and secure a large maritime zone that abuts that of its neighbour and enemy, Lebanon.

The navy asked in 2013 for an increase in its budget of $700 million to build up its systems and $100 million annually to maintain them, though the defence ministry declines to say how much it has since received.

The increase was tied to the need to defend the oil and gas development, and the current spending comes as Israel begins accepting bids from companies that want to explore 24 offshore blocks in the eastern Mediterranean that adjoin the vast Leviathan deposit.

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