Israel Launches Bidding for Offshore Oil, Gas Exploration

MEDITERRANEAN SEA, ISRAEL - FEBRUARY 2013: In this handout image provided by Albatross, The Tamar drilling natural gas production platform is seen some 25 kilometers West of the Ashkelon shore in February 2013 in Israel. (Photo Photo by Albatross via Getty Images)
Albatross via Getty

The Times of Israel reports: Israel will on Tuesday launch a bidding process for oil and gas exploration licenses off its Mediterranean coast, the first such offers in four years.

The government has high hopes for the new blocks being offered following the discoveries of the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields off its coast since 2009.

Israel hopes the Leviathan field will eventually allow it to become a gas exporter, which could provide it with additional leverage in the turbulent Middle East.

According to the energy ministry, 24 offshore blocks will be offered for exploration in the first round starting Tuesday and ending around March 2017, each up to 400 square kilometers (155 square miles).

The recent approval of a long-delayed natural gas industry framework by the government has cleared the path for Israel to move forward.

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