Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Apr 18, 2011

Could Israel Become a Major Oil Exporter?

For many years, I've heard people talk about the possibility of oil riches being discovered in Israel. Since the Jewish state was founded, there have been efforts to get Christians to invest in oil-drilling ventures. So far, no significant amount of oil has been extracted from Israel's soil.

Some Christians claim that prophecy suggests that oil wealth will come to the Jews. They point to a desire to steal Israel's oil wealth as what will trigger the Gog invasion. The prophecies in Ezekiel make no reference to oil being the reason for the attack.

Zion Oil & Gas Inc. operates in Israel, and has never produced any oil in its eleven-year history of drilling. It survives by constantly issuing new shares to Christians who believe that Israel is someday going to hit the mother lode of oil wealth.

In the past year, the folks predicting an Israel rich in energy resources have had some positive news. Last summer, huge deposits of natural gas were found along Israel's northern coastline. The Leviathan and Tamar gas fields contain an estimated 127 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The gas field is large enough to meet Israel’s own domestic needs for decades to come. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN that his nation could forego building additional nuclear reactors based on its newfound gas reserves.

“It is only a matter of time before Israel becomes a big gas exporter,” said Philip Wolfe, an energy banker at UBS, the investment bank. Because natural gas has to be liquefied before it can be transported, it normally can't be moved over large distances. Oil is the key to any export wealth.

Israel is actually sitting on top of a vast amount of oil. According to Harold Vinegar, the former chief scientist of Royal Dutch Shell, the Shefla Basin holds the world’s second-largest shale deposits outside the United States, from which around 250 billion barrels of oil–about the same as Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves. The basin is located a few miles south a Tel Aviv.

We've known about oil shale for several decades. There is a huge amount of oil in shale. Estimates of global deposits range from 2.8 trillion to 3.3 trillion barrels of recoverable oil. The problem is getting the oil out of the sedimentary material. You can't just drill a well and pump out the oil. It's like trying to squeeze water out of a frozen sponge.

As our technology improves, we are able to extract oil from fields that were once beyond our reach. A few decades ago, we had no way of getting crude from the ocean. Now, we can drill in water that is several miles deep. The technology curb has now reached the point where shale is becoming an exploitable resource.

We currently use a fracking technique to remove gas from shale, and oil may be next. Oil-shale mining used to be a dirty business that used up tremendous amounts of water and energy. New technology will use heating units to separate the oil from the shale safely and at low cost. Israel Energy Initiatives estimates the marginal cost of production at between $35 and $40 per barrel.

There are some test projects in the planning stage and they face a number of significant issues:

- Is the resource there?
- What is the risk to the water aquifers?
- Can we drill long horizontal wells?
- Can the heaters be placed in them?
- Will they last?

The odds are long against shale oil, but Israel is probably the best to make it work. Unlike most deposits, the Shefla shale is in a hospitable location. It also contains oil of the light, sweet variety that is easy to refine into gasoline or other common end products. Most of all, the Jews have proven themselves to be very talented at exploiting resources. If they can't make shale oil work, I doubt any nation can.

An energy-rich Israel is certain to generate conflict with her Arab neighbors. The Leviathan gas fields straddle the Israeli-Lebanese maritime border, and Lebanon is already claiming that Israel is stealing gas from its territorial waters. I can easily see how this conflict could become an international crisis.

-- Todd

Global Monetary Masters Surround Israel

We have watched over the past months while Israel’s Islamist neighbors have ignited in revolutionary fervor. They surround that tiny country, their dictatorial governments in chaos. Because they have been in a constant rage against Israel since its rebirth into modernity in 1948, blood-vowed to erase that nation from the earth, the sudden pyrotechnics within their ranks makes the Middle East the true powder keg it has been designated since the end of World War II. Diplomatic powers that be are focused on the region as intensely as ever in history.

Great concern for petroleum interests has thrust those in high places into the fray in ways only they can intervene. The global monetary masters have begun to surround the beleaguered Jewish state much in the way that Israel’s hate-filled Arab enemies surround that country. Their cordon consists of economic strength–not as overtly threatening as the collective military machinery of the nations that have combined to come against them in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, but threatening nonetheless.

Two institutions representing the global economic hierarchy have weighed in on the matter most pressing with regard to what I will term "Israel vs. the world." I’m referring to the potential violence wrapped up in the so-called “two-state-solution” controversy. I believe that the monetary factors at the heart of the pressures now being exerted make up the nucleus of Zechariah’s prophecy. It is a prophecy we have looked at often:

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.(Zechariah 12:1-3)

The international community, in the form of what is called the Quartet, has for years been pressuring other Israeli governments and now the Benjamin Netanyahu government to discontinue building settlements in the areas of contention around Jerusalem. The U.S., UN, European Union, and Russia continue to insist that Israel come to the table of peace--it seems to me--on terms favorable to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The “Roadmap to Peace” is in reality–again, in my view—a blueprint for bringing down Israel’s guard against an ever-tightening semicircle of hostile Islamist governments that want to push all Israeli Jews into the Mediterranean. That semicircle is now made more portentous by the fall of Egypt to Israel’s south, Egypt now likely to fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The two institutions that give the international community its true power and authority as the Quartet and others join in tightening the circle against Israel are the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The World Bank. Global economic authority is the real power behind the power. These have made their intentions known.

The World Bank has strongly supported the recognition of an independent Palestinian state following the backing by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In a Thursday report, the World Bank compared core Palestinian institutions favorably with those in established countries. The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it intends to work on the recognition of an independent Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly this September. More than 100 countries have so far officially recognized Palestine as a state based on the 1967 borders, boundaries that existed before Israel captured East al- Quds (Jerusalem), the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. ("World Bank Supports Palestinian State, PressTV, 4/12/11)

Israel insists that unless issues concerning borders and security are settled, there can be no Palestinian state. The PA is threatening to apply for Palestinian statehood with the UN, the organization filled with representative nations heavily against Israel and in favor of Islamist causes.

Such an approval by that world body–creating a Palestinian state without Israel’s participation in the process--would put the Jewish nation in direct conflict with the great majority of countries of the world if Israel refused to allow the new Palestinian state to take over territory Israel considers its own. Some–including this writer—believe that part of the recent intervention by nations against the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi was designed to create precedence for a future such international community intervention. Such an action against Israel thus might be considered justifiable in the minds of the globalist monetary masters wanting to create a Palestinian state so as to control Middle East petroleum assets. Zechariah's prophecy continues to take shape.