WAY TO GO MOSES!! . For decades some have been complaining if Moses had only made a right turn after he led the Israelites across the Reed Sea the Jews would have the Oil, the Arabs would have the desert and the world would be much better off. Moses’ sense of direction is making a comeback.

Exploratory drilling off Israel’s northern coast this week has confirmed the existence of a major natural gas field — one of the world’s largest offshore gas finds of the past decade — leading the country’s infrastructure minister to call it “the most important energy news since the founding of the state.” 

In January 2009 a major supply of natural gas was found off the coast of Haifa, Israel’s major port city. In December, a significant quantity of oil was discovered near Rosh HaAyin, a city located east of Tel Aviv on the western edge of Samaria.

This past February two different finds of Natural Gas were found off the coast of Israel. For the Mira Prospect, the best estimate of gross prospective sales gas resources is 4.24 TCF (trillion cubit feet)  and for the Sarah Prospect, the best estimate is 1.47 TCF. The high range is 7.34 TCF

At the time the US Geological Survey released a report saying the Levant Basin Province which runs up the Mediterranean Sea the length of Israel (see above), through Lebanon and the bottom tip of Syria contains an estimated 1.7 billion barrels of Oil and 122 TCF of natrual gas (that’s the best guess estimate, some project the actual reserves may be double)

“The Levant Basin Province is comparable to some of the other large provinces around the world and its gas resources are bigger than anything we have assessed in the United States,” said USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator Brenda Pierce.

Now the size of that natural gas find has been confirmed.  The field, named Leviathan, has at least 16 trillion cubic feet of gas at a likely market value of tens of billions of dollars and should turn Israel into an energy exporter.

“If it acts correctly, levelheadedly and responsibly, Israel can enjoy not only the benefit of using the gas, but it can also turn into a gas supplier in the Mediterranean region,” the infrastructure minister, Uzi Landau, said in a statement. “The large reserves of natural gas will enable Israel’s citizens to enjoy the benefit of clean and inexpensive electricity, as well as the expected profits for the state.”

The find means that Israel, with a long history of dependence on foreign energy, and hostility and boycotts from many of the biggest energy powers, could find itself in a much more advantageous position in the coming decade.

Of course Israel’s government is already trying to determine how to tax the Oil Companies’ projected new profits.

Gideon Tadmor, the chief executive of Delek Energy and Avner Oil Exploration, partners in this venture with Noble, said the taxes could make the project prohibitively expensive. “The gas may stay in the ground because we will not succeed in obtaining from banks around the world the tens of billions of shekels for developing the reservoir,” he said in an interview.

Then there is the matter of Israel’s neighbors who also have access to the gas fields. Based on the Israeli announcement, Lebanese politicians said they would move more quickly in exploring their country’s gas potential.

Economist Eytan Sheshinski, who is the head of a  state-appointed committee discussing the Gas Find  is planning to recommend substantially increased profit taxes.

“We have proposed a profit tax to be imposed after the firms earn an adequate return on their investment,” Professor Sheshinski said in an interview. “We have checked with the banks and we will be well within world averages. Anyone who knows the numbers can be assured of a proper return.”

Professor Sheshinski said that his report, due out on Monday, had already been endorsed by the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer; the International Monetary Fund; and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which Israel recently joined. He said that the profit tax rate recommended by his committee would be 55 to 60 percent and that the O.E.C.D. average was 62 percent.

Of course any recommendations must be approved by the Netanyahu government and Knesset (Israel’s parliament).

Thank God that Israel is not following the US President’s lead by restricting off shore exploration. Now if we can only get the President of the United States to tap America’s reserves, the US would no longer need to import energy, and Obama would no longer have to bow before the King of Saudi Arabia.