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Israel announces new natural gas field off its coast

The official announcement on the discovery of the Katlan-Orca natural gas field off Israel's coast paves the way for hydrocarbon exploration company Energian to seek development and exploitation permits.
Israeli gas fields

Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and Greek-British hydrocarbon exploration and production company Energean officially announced on Wednesday the discovery of a new natural gas field off the coast of Israel. The field has been given the name "Katlan," which means "orca" in Hebrew.

Israel’s Energy Minister Israel Katz handed a formal recognition certificate — issued by the Energy Ministry Fuel Administration head Chen Bar-Yosef (under the 2018 discovery permit No. 12) — to Energean CEO Matthew Rigas for the discovery of the natural gas field.

Estimated at 68 billion cubic meters, the new field was technically discovered in May 2022, as part of search and discovery work by Energean under permit No. 12, essentially focusing on the discovery of the Karish and Tanin reserves. Katlan is considered rather small, compared with other fields off the Israeli coast. Still, with Israel's annual consumption estimated at less than 13 billion cubic meters, the new discovery is important.

The Katlan undersea gas field falls within Israel's economic waters. By contrast, the Aphrodite field is mostly in Cypriot territorial waters, with only a small part in Israeli waters. The Kana-Sidon undersea reservoir is mostly in Lebanese waters and only a small part in Israeli waters. An American/French-brokered deal between Israel and Lebanon last year established the maritime border line between the economic waters of both countries and the terms of exploitation.

Under Israel’s Petroleum Law, the recognition certificate enables Energean to submit a request for a holding certificate to the Israeli authorities followed by a proposed development plan. Once approved, the company would be able to start development processes. The gas extracted should be essentially destined for the internal Israeli market, though possibly also for export.

Katlan is the fourth-largest gas discovery made off the coast of Israel in the last eight years. The largest field is Leviathan, with an estimated reserve of 600 billion cubic meters. The second-largest is Tamar, estimated at 300 billion cubic meters. The third-largest field is Karish-Tanin (which is also owned by Energean) with an estimated reserve of 100 billion cubic meters.

Katz spoke at the formal recognition ceremony. "The Katlan reserves discovered under license No. 12 join to other existing natural gas reserves in our country, which have already changed the face of the local energy economy, turning the State of Israel into a world energy power. There is potential for additional discoveries in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore the Energy Ministry under my leadership will continue to develop the natural gas reserves that are in our territory and promote the discovery of additional natural gas reserves for the energy security of Israel, and to ensure a reliable, clean and affordable Israeli energy economy," he said.

Rigas said in a statement that his company will start exploiting Katlan "as quickly and efficiently as possible".

"This will create considerable value for all our partners and open up new opportunities for Israeli gas in the local and regional market, and for the benefit of the Israeli economy as a whole," he added.

Since the discovery of the first natural gas reserves off the coast of Israel in 2004, the state had generated about 20 billion Israeli shekels ($5.35 billion) in revenues, which have been placed into the Israeli Wealth Fund. In 2022, Israel received 1.7 billion shekels ($45.5 million) in royalties from the companies exploiting its offshore gas fields. 

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