Israel awards 12 offshore exploration blocks to Cairn, Soco


TEL AVIV – The Israeli Ministry of Energy has awarded 12 new offshore blocks in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone in its second license round, adding British companies Cairn and Soco to an international roster of oil and gas companies operating in the country’s waters.  Licenses are valid for three years, extendable to up to seven years dependent on work program performance.

“We are continuing to work towards transforming Israel into a regional energy power,” said Minister of Energy Dr. Yuval Steinitz. “The arrival of additional European companies to Israel, combined with the fact that the Leviathan platform will soon be connected to the shore and the ongoing work on the development of the Karish field, will lead to the breakup of the monopoly and enhance competition in this sector.”

Five international and Israeli companies have submitted proposals to explore for oil and gas in 12 new blocks in Israel’s EEZ, out of 19 blocks tendered.

In the second bidding round, the Ministry of Energy had tendered 19 exploration licenses, each one up to 400 km² in size. The 19 licenses were grouped into five zones, each up to 1,600 km² in size. A third licensing round is due to be held in 2021.

The decision to market the areas in zones of 3-4 licenses, was taken to provide a higher degree of compatibility between the geological structures within the exploration areas, which could contain oil and natural gas reservoirs.  Holding larger exploration areas will enable the companies to undertake more extensive and thorough geological and geophysical surveys.

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