ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Israel officially recognizes Energean’s Katlan reservoir as natural gas discovery

Ministry says classification of offshore field, which holds an estimated 68 billion cubic meters of gas, marks the first natural gas discovery recognized by Israel since 2015

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Israel Katz, national infrastructure, energy, and water minister (right) and Energean CEO Mathios Regas. (Courtesy)
Israel Katz, national infrastructure, energy, and water minister (right) and Energean CEO Mathios Regas. (Courtesy)

Israel’s Energy Ministry officially classified an offshore natural gas reserve explored by British-Greek oil and gas company Energean as a discovery, paving the way for its development.

National infrastructure, Energy, and Water Minister Israel Katz on Wednesday granted Energean the recognition of the oil commissioner Chen Bar Yosef for the Katlan deposit, also known as Olympus, as a natural gas discovery. It marks the first natural gas discovery recognized by Israel since 2015, the Energy Ministry said.

It comes a year after news of the discovery was announced.

Katlan, which holds an estimated 68 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, is located between the Energean-owned Karish and Tanin natural gas fields off Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

“This achievement is a source of great pride for Energean, as we are the only company to have carried out such a campaign in Israel in recent years,” said Energean CEO Mathios Regas. “We believe this discovery will open new opportunities for Israeli gas supplies in both local and regional markets.”

The official recognition of the natural gas discovery means Energean can submit a development plan for the Katlan deposit. After obtaining Israeli government approval, the oil and gas explorer can begin the development of the field, which after a few years is expected to produce natural gas to supply the Israeli market and potential export markets such as Egypt and other regional and European markets.

Energean intends to develop the Katlan field and make use of the existing infrastructure, including its floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility, used to extract natural gas from the Karish reservoir, the ministry said.

An Israeli Navy Sa’ar 6-class corvette guards the Energean floating production, storage and offloading vessel at the Karish gas field, in an image published by the military on April 23, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Energean acquired the Karish and Tanin natural gas fields located in Israel’s economic waters in the Mediterranean in 2016 as the government sought to increase competition in the domestic energy market. Production from the Karish field started in October 2022.

“We are ramping up production from the Karish field and have seen four months of solid gas and liquid production in Israel,” Rigas said on May 18.

“This year, Energean expects to supply a significant proportion of Israel’s gas demand. This is why we are moving quickly to develop our newly discovered [Katlan] Olympus Area resource, as efficiently as possible,” he added.

Energean has also earmarked two potential export routes for the supply of gas from the Katlan reservoir. In December 2021, Energean signed a memorandum of understanding  with Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) for the sale and purchase of up to 3 bcm of natural gas per year on average for a period of 10 years, commencing with initial volumes of up to 1 bcm per year. The energy company is also seeking to explore exports to other regional and European markets via pipeline and LNG — liquefied natural gas — delivered through Cyprus and/or Egypt.

Israel’s natural gas operations have put the country on a path to energy independence, and have shielded it from the worst of the energy crisis sparked by the Russian war on Ukraine, in a region with few natural resources.

Natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan, one of the world’s largest deep-water gas discoveries, which contains an estimated 22 trillion cubic feet of gas, started to flow to the Israeli domestic market in December 2019. Currently, a maximum capacity of up to 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, or 12 billion cubic meters per year, is piped up from the Leviathan reservoir for the supply and sale of gas to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.

“The Katlan reservoir discovered in license 12 join the existing natural gas reserves in our country, which have already changed the face of the local energy economy and turned the State of Israel into a world energy power,” said Katz. “There is potential for additional discoveries in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

“The ministry under my leadership will continue to develop the natural gas reserves that are in our territory and promote the exploration and discovery of additional natural gas reserves for the sake of the energy security of the State of Israel and for ensuring a reliable, clean and affordable Israeli energy economy,” he continued.

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