Oil Shale Initiative in Valley Where David Slew Goliath Could Turn Israel into an Oil Giant

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New technology developed by Israel Energy Initiatives could make it possible for Israel to profitably produce oil from deposits previously inaccessible. Based on this technology, Israel may have 250 billion barrels of recoverable oil -- nearly equaling the 260 billion barrels of Saudi Arabia. The Israel Energy Partnership is educating U.S. business and Jewish community leaders about this potential development.

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“This could be a game-changer in the geopolitical balance of power in the Middle East,” argued Jack Halpern, head of the The Israel Energy Partnership.

A proposed effort to extract oil from shale deposits in Israel’s Valley of Elah (where David slew Goliath) has the potential to turn tiny Israel into one of the world’s largest producers of oil, rivaling Saudi Arabia. According to Dr. Harold Vinegar, Chief Scientist of Israel Energy Initiatives (“IEI”), the company in charge of the project, Israel may possess as much as 250 billion barrels of oil, nearly equaling the 260 billion barrel Saudi reserves.

“This could be a game-changer in the geopolitical balance of power in the Middle East,” argued Jack Halpern, head of the The Israel Energy Partnership. “Until now, OPEC oil has funded the Middle East arms race, financed terrorism, enabled Iran to pursue development of a nuclear bomb, and convinced oil purchasing nations in Europe and Asia to support Israel’s enemies in the hope that they could then get access to Middle East oil. If Israel were the world’s largest producer of oil, instead, all of that would change.”

Speaking Novemeber 1st to a group of business and Jewish community leaders brought together by the Israel Energy Partnership, Vinegar stressed that IEI’s approach to shale oil production is designed to protect the environment and does not involve “fracking” at all, the method most often used today to extract fossil oil and gas from shale. And, because of its small “footprint,” the project will not harm the historical character of this Biblical site.

Vinegar is one of the world’s foremost experts in unconventional fuels. He worked at Royal Dutch Shell for over 30 years, and was Shell’s Chief Scientist for Unconventionals before he and his family made Aliyah.

”IEI will heat the shale over a long period of time in order to produce high quality liquid fuels from the oil shale,” Vinegar said. “We won’t be using pressurized water or chemicals and our approach will leave the region’s aquifer in its natural, pristine state. The aquifer is separated from the project’s operations by an impenetrable 200-meter-thick barrier of rock,” he added. “Given the history of fossil fuel extraction from shale to date, I understand the environmental concerns. We are taking a different path and are focused on development of a sensible and environmentally sustainable approach to oil shale.”

Co-sponsors of the meeting included the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the America-Israel Friendship League.

The Israel Energy Partnership is a not-for-profit organization, organized under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code in order to promote U.S./Israel cooperation on alternative energy development.

Israel Energy Initiatives is an Israeli company, majority owned by Genie Energy, a U.S. energy corporation.


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Neil Goldstein
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