Major oil reserve said found on Golan
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Major oil reserve said found on Golan

Afek Oil and Gas confirms ‘significant amounts’ of liquid oil, but quality, quantity and cost-effectiveness of extraction still unknown

Heavy machinery for exploratory oil drilling on the Golan Heights at Oil Site 5. (Courtesy Afek Oil and Gas)
Heavy machinery for exploratory oil drilling on the Golan Heights at Oil Site 5. (Courtesy Afek Oil and Gas)

A company drilling for oil on the Golan Heights claims to have found “significant amounts” in the plateau.

“We’re talking about a layer 350 meters thick,” Yuval Bartov, chief geologist of Afek Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of the American company Genie Energy, told Channel 2.

The layer is ten times larger than the average oil find worldwide, Bartov said, “and that’s why we’re talking about significant amounts. What’s important is to know that there’s oil in the rock, and this we know.”

Three drilling sites on the Golan have uncovered what is potentially billions of barrels of oil, enough to fulfill the Israeli market’s 270,000-barrel-per-day consumption for a very long time, the report claimed.

Exploratory drilling began in December 2014. In recent weeks, Afek requested permission to drill an additional 10 wells.

While it says the oil find is confirmed, the firm says the quality, more precise measures of quantity and cost-effectiveness of extracting the oil won’t be known until the extraction is begun.

Afek has faced numerous challenges from environmental groups concerned about the impact of drilling, some of which reached the High Court of Justice.

Since Israel’s founding, companies searching for oil across Israel have drilled 530 exploratory wells, and none of them has turned up commercially viable oil, Genie CEO Geoff Rochwarger said in September.

Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.

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