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Israel sees sharp rise in natural-gas revenue

Royalties surge 23% in the first half of the year.

Pipe-laying at the Karish gas field, 56 miles off the Israeli coast. Credit: Energean.
Pipe-laying at the Karish gas field, 56 miles off the Israeli coast. Credit: Energean.

Israel’s Energy and Infrastructure Ministry has received more than 11.7 billion shekels ($3.8 billion) of natural gas royalties to date, of which more than 1 billion shekels ($263 million) were received in the first half of 2023.

That second figure represents a 23% jump from the first half of 2022.

The revenue growth stems from increases in the production of natural gas for export and the production of hydrocarbon liquids, as well as a rise in the value of the dollar against the shekel (the prices of exports are set in dollars).

The Energy Ministry’s Division of Royalties, Accounting and Economics published the report.

Royalties from exports totaled approximately 590 million shekels ($155 million—58.6% of the royalties in the first half of 2023.

Royalties from the Leviathan reservoir—Israel’s largest—during the same period amounted to approximately 482 million shekels ($127 million) from the production of approximately 5.44 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas. The Leviathan royalties were up 6.4% from the same period last year.

Most (about 86.12%) of the Leviathan royalties came from exports, with the balance produced by sales to the domestic market.

Israel’s Leviathan gas processing rig as seen from the Dor Habonim Beach Nature Reserve, Jan. 1, 2020. Credit: Flash90.

Royalties produced by the Tamar reservoir in the first half of 2023 totaled 379 million shekels ($100 million), up 3.4% from the corresponding period last year. Approximately 4.91 BCM of gas was produced.

Royalties from the Karish reservoir (which began production in October 2022) in the first six months of 2023 totaled 145 million shekels ($38 million) from the production of approximately 1.97 BCM of natural gas and approximately 947,000 barrels of hydrocarbon liquids.

The future of Israel’s gas boom

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a discussion on the state of the natural gas industry on Sunday, his office said.

The premier received a comprehensive briefing from Energy Minister Israel Katz along with a forecast for the next 25 years of offshore production and ways to boost exports.

Energy and Infrastructure Minister Israel Katz. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.

National Economic Council Director Avraham Simhon and his team presented similar data to that of Katz regarding the expansion of production and exports.

Netanyahu decided to establish a joint Energy and Infrastructure Ministry, Finance Ministry and National Economic Council team “to formulate a plan to provide a horizon for companies and certainty for the local economy.”

He also reiterated that Katz is authorized to approve exports “to ensure the energy security of the State of Israel and fight the cost of living while maximizing the diplomatic benefits.”

Also participating in the discussion were Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi, Prime Minister’s Office Director General Yossi Shelley and their professional teams.

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