To Serve and Protect Natural Gas

Will the IDF have to guard oil & gas mining areas almost twice the size of Israel?

Published: February 21st 2011
in Economics » Israel

The Leviathan discovery is located to the south of Israel, and is estimated to contain huge gas reserves that could possibly supply Israel’s gas needs at least until 2030

According to a new plan, the Israeli Defence Forces will have to put up with a whole new front - guarding the offshore natural gas mining platforms and vast areas off the coast of Israel. Altogether the size of these areas is 1.5 times bigger than Israel.


There is an Israeli army slogan - “by land, by sea, by air” - which is meant to exude the IDF’s determination to carry out any mission regardless of its nature or location. If this plan passes, the IDF will be spending more time at sea than ever.


The navy has until the end of the month to come up with a solution to guard the gas fields found off the Israeli coastline. It is estimated that the plan, in its first phase, will cost over $50 million US dollars. It will first be presented to the Israeli General Staff only and if approved, will be passed for the government’s approval.


The plan will cover not only the “Leviathan” and “Tamar” gas fields but also additional areas where gas & oil exploration are planned for in the future. Some of these sites are located far from Israeli soil - approximately as far as the longitude of Cyprus (imagine a line going straight down, south of the country).


The areas included in the plan will be named “strategic areas”, because eventually they are supposed to provide 70% of the resources needed to produce Israeli energy. “It is a heavy task, as far as the IDF is concerned it is another front” an official was quoted in Israel.


The navy estimates Israel will have to protect the drilling platforms, underwater pipelines, ships and additional infrastructure. When the gas harvesting program will reach its climax, the navy will have to protect dozens of objects both above and under the sea. This means heavy investments in surveillance equipment and intelligence as well as extra personnel and new types of war ships the navy is not currently familiar with.


An Israeli body who in the past had inspected the means of dividing the profits generated from the mining, suggested the investors and Israel’s security forces will split the cost to guard the fields evenly. However, the Israeli security forces claimed they have no intention to spend money from the defense budget on this guarding assignment.


In other news, the Iron Dome system which is currently being developed in Israel will soon be operational.The system is designed to intercept rockets and will be used as a defensive countermeasure against the rocket threat of Israel's northern and southern population.


According to Yedioth Aharonoth, the system successfully passed the last series of tests and managed to shot down only the rockets which would have caused damage and not the ones which eventually fell in open areas.

Related articles: (Leviathan, Tamar, IDF, Navy, Oil, Gas)

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