What is Operation Leviathan?

The demand for natural gas has risen dramatically over the last decade. Not only is natural gas cheaper but it is also the cleanest fossil fuel making it the better option in our environmentally conscious world. Natural gas is, however, a non-renewable energy source and the discovery, development and exploitation of new gas fields is very important.

The discovery of the Leviathan gas field and the ensuing operation Leviathan is set to meet the growing demand for natural gas. The Leviathan gas field is located in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel just 47 km south west of the Tamar gas field. It is the largest deep water gas field to be discovered in the past decade. After the discovery of the field and subsequent exploration of mining possibilities, commercial production began in December 2019 despite locals’ concerns regarding possible air pollution. The Israeli ministry assured the people that the emissions from the initial venting was actually lower than they had initially estimated it would be and it didn’t pose a threat. This gas field is set to provide Israel with a measure of energy security and new sources of income for Israel as it increases the gas supply to Israel and neighboring countries. This was not possible as long as Israel was dependent upon the one producing resource, the Tamar gas field.

While the Leviathan gas field production is up and running the nearby exploration of the Aphrodite gas field is being contested. The discovery of the Aphrodite gas field at the edge of Cyprus’ economic waters was announced in 2011 and since explored. It is expected to provide a similar type of energy independence to Cyprus that the Tamar and Leviathan fields provide for Israel. While a definite development plan is being established a dispute over the ownership of the field, or at least a part of the field, is still waging and possibly halting progression of the Aphrodite project field. Israel claims that a tip of the field reaches over the border and into Israel’s maritime border. Demands have recently been made to not continue with any further development until an agreement has been reached between the two countries. Cypriot leaders see the development of the gas field and the settlement of the dispute as two different things and maintain that development of the Aphrodite Cyprus will continue while negotiations are ongoing.

Regardless of the border disputes and locals’ fears for possible air pollution these gas fields will change the gas production and supply industry in the Middle East by meeting the rising demand and making the area less dependent on established natural gas producers.

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