RAMALLAH, September 29 (JMCC) - About an hour's drive from Jerusalem, technicians are exploring the possibility of extracting oil and gas from Israel's shale deposits.
The initiative, reports the
BBC, is controversial because it requires heating the ground to temperatures higher than 300 degrees Celsius. The shale deposits sit on the region's most important ground aquifer and similar processes were halted in Colorado after fears of ground-water contamination.
The World Energy Council estimates Israel is sitting on enough shale to produce around four billion barrels of oil, enough at today's usage to keep the country in oil for more than 40 years.
Mr Nguyen claims there is much more. That's why he and his colleagues at Israel Energy Initiatives, based in Jerusalem, are lugging rigs around the valley, carrying out prospective drilling.
Shale has been exploited in small quantities in Israel before, but only in a surface-mining operation which generated electricity for local use.
Israel currently imports all its gas and oil from Egypt and Russia and the former Soviet republics. Gas flow from Egypt was recently halted, however, due to attacks on the pipeline.