Venture Explains: Leviathan and Tamar

What are they?

Leviathan and Tamar are two vast Israeli offshore gas fields. The former, discovered in 2010 off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, is the world’s biggest offshore gas find of the past decade.

Why should we care?

Though any agreements have yet to be finalized, Israel and its partners in the gas sector look set in the near future to begin pumping huge amounts of gas from these reservoirs to Jordan and other surrounding states. Energy-poor Jordan has struggled to find alternatives to vital Egyptian gas supplies, which have been severely interrupted in recent years by  continuous attacks on a pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula. Reuters reported that 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas from the Leviathan reservoir will be supplied to the heavily-indebted National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) over 15 years at a cost of $15 billion. While the Tamar reservoir will supply 66 billion cubic feet of gas at a cost of at least $500 million over 15 years to the Arab Potash Company and the Jordan Bromine Company.

Where is it all going?

Any deepening of economic ties with Israel will always prove controversial in Jordan, as the furor surrounding these major gas deals have so far proved. But the government seems intent on pushing ahead with efforts to diversify its energy sources imports—a strategy it believes will prove cheaper and more dependable in the long-run. To this end, Jordan is also looking to import gas from Cyprus, while work continues on building an LNG terminal in Aqaba. Furthermore, plans to build an export oil pipeline between Basra and Aqaba are in the works. By allowing Iraq to export from the Red Sea port, Baghdad is expected to supply Jordan with oil at a significantly reduced cost.