Dead Sea oil reservoir ‘entirely within Israel’ says company

Dead Sea oil reservoir ‘entirely within Israel’ says company

Israeli business that will drill the site, which reportedly contains NIS 1.2 billion of black gold, denies Arab media reports that license lies within Palestinian territory

The Dead Sea (Oren Nahshon/Flash90)
The Dead Sea (Oren Nahshon/Flash90)

An Israeli company authorized to drill an oil reservoir near the Dead Sea, recently evaluated to contain NIS 1.2 billion worth of fuel, stressed Sunday that the area is located entirely inside Israel, which it said was a response to Arab media reports that the site stretched into Palestinian territory.

Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP said in a statement sent to the media that the Hatrurim field “lies entirely within Israel’s borders.”

The oil company said they were responding to “various reports” in the Arab media, though the statement did not specify which reports, nor the nature of their claims.

A new report released Sunday by the company and filed with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange claimed the Hatrurim oil reservoir, which covers 94 square kilometers of the Dead Sea area, is worth NIS 1.2 billion ($320 million).

The company released a map purporting to show that the field is located kilometers inside the Green Line, which runs along the West Bank border.

Map released by Israel Opportunity on May 8, 2016 that purports to show the Hatrurim license (oil reservoir) is entirely contained within Israeli territory (Courtesy: Israel Opportunity)
Map released by Israel Opportunity on May 8, 2016 that purports to show the Hatrurim license (oil reservoir) is entirely contained within Israeli territory (Courtesy: Israel Opportunity)

The report about the wealth at the oil field appeared to cause some consternation in Jordan, which controls the eastern bank of the Dead Sea.

The chairman of the Jordanian Committee for Protecting the Homeland and Resisting Normalization, Dr. Manaf Majali, demanded the Hashemite Kingdom’s minister of energy check the validity of the report on the Hatrurim field, according to the Jordanian daily al-Ghad.

“In the case that oil does exist [at Hatrurim] in a commercial quantity, then it totally belongs to Jordan and not to the occupation that stole it,” Majali said.

In 1995, Israeli company Delek Group Ltd. struck oil in the Hatrurim area after drilling two kilometers below the surface. But, Israel Opportunity said on their website, Delek decided to halt its operations near the Dead Sea due to the low price of oil at the time.

Along with Israel Opportunity, licenses to drill at the oil reservoir were granted to five other partners, according to the company’s website. They include three Israeli companies — Zerach Oil and Gas Exploration, LP (28.75%), Ashtrom Group Ltd (10%) and Ginko Oil Exploration, LP (28.75%) — as well as Israeli geologist Eliyahu Rozenberg (2.5%) and Cyprus Opportunity Oil & Gas Exploration, Ltd (5%), which will become the first company listed in Cyprus to enter into Israel’s oil and gas market, according to Israeli news site Globes.

On a statement on its website, the partnership announced that it intends to re-enter the drilling site.

The new drilling program, according to the statement, is based on “the seismic survey results received from past drilling,” and will be carried out using “advanced technologies.”

The “spud date,” or beginning of the drilling process, is slated to begin by November 1, 2017, the statement said.

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