Is it possible that on the Southern Golan heights, buried deep in the bowels of the earth, at a depth of a kilometer and a half, hides one of the most important resources in the world? Could it be possible that in our land we have one of the largest reservoirs of oil in the middle east? The time has come to find out.
In 2012 the State of Israel decided to check to see if there is oil hidden somewhere underground, and a tender was issued to search for oil on the Golan. Two companies submitted bids.
Afek Oil and Gas Company, a division of Genie Energy, won the tender and received a license to explore for, and produce natural oil and natural gas on the Southern Golan (“Nes” license), after the relevant government bodies had examined the extensive geological analyses, the financial stability and the high level of professionalism of the company.
The license, granted by the District Planning and Building Committee, permits the company carry out procedures to prospect for oil on the Southern Golan Heights.
Among the capable professionals of the company are internationally renowned experts in the field of geology, water, oil, geophysics and engineering. We also work in close cooperation with the leading consulting firms and service providers in their various fields in Israel and worldwide – among them the distinguished and well-known Geophysical Institute. We operate within the guidelines set down by the various authorities, the Ministries of National Infrastructures, Environmental Protection, Health and others.
We undertake to act with full transparency vis à vis all the relevant entities, among them representatives of the Golan Regional Council, the Water Authority, the Nature and Parks Authority, the Hydrological Service, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, as well as representatives of the settlements in the vicinity of the company’s operations.
Our journey to the center of the earth began in 1981 when Mekorot, the Israeli Water Company, drilled a routine well in Ein Sid, which is in the Southern Golan. The drilling was not successful. The drillers reported that they reached only dirty water that was unfit for drinking and immediately stopped the drilling process. The question was – what was the reason for this dirty water?
A quick analysis showed that natural oil emanating from the earth was, in fact, the cause of the “dirt”. Despite the sensational nature of the finding, the media did not really pay any attention to it.
Thirty years after that “failed” water drilling attempt, our experts performed a new analysis of the data gathered during the process of the original water drilling. The evidence found in the subsoil samples taken during that drilling reinforced the evaluation that hidden on the Golan was one of the largest natural oil reserves in the Middle East.
The Afek Company’s experts, who have decades of experience at the forefront of the global oil industry, delved deeper. Geological models were constructed, over a period of many long months, to examine the subsoil heat, the various layers deep underground, the electrical conductivity and more. Their findings reinforced the initial assumptions concerning a large natural oil deposit on the Golan.
After two years of performing all the preliminary tests, we analyzed the area and built the most advanced models in the world. Now all that remains to be seen is if all this is, in fact, true.
We’re going to let you in on a secret. There is a reason why the State of Israel does not prospect for oil independently – the enormous costs involved, as well as the high degree of risk and the pessimistic statistics indicating that the chance of finding oil stands at only 6%. This is what caused the State of Israel to transfer oil exploration to private entrepreneurs.
Contrary to other fields, the final proof of the presence of oil can only be demonstrated by exploratory drilling.
Only after finding oil, can we map the reservoir size and prove our assumptions to be correct. Subsequently we can submit a request to the State of Israel to recognize our findings as a “discovery”. After this is approved, we will have to approach the planning and construction authorities with detailed work plans that include, inter alia, environmental impact assessment, in order to obtain the rights to long-term commercial oil production in the area.
The oil exploration licenses granted are for the area south of the city of Katzrin, and extend to the southern border of the Golan Heights. To reduce the effects of the exploratory drilling on the environment and on the residents, we carefully selected only ten points spread out within the license area, in coordination with the Golan Regional Council and all the relevant authorities.
You have reached the most worthwhile part of the game – the prize station. The station that shuffles all the cards, and where you can decide to take all the treasure home with you – or leave it buried in the ground forever.
We believe that the amount of natural oil to be found in the earth of the Golan Heights can make a real difference to the future of this country and is expected to enrich its coffers in the amount of at least 5 billion shekels a year.
With 5 billion shekels we could end the budget deficit and finally take care of the cost of living; this amount could be applied to the Compulsory Education Law, to build hundreds of new classrooms, add air conditioners and computers, as well as improve teachers’ salaries; with income taxes and royalties accruing to the state we could finally help Holocaust survivors, reduce tuition for students and raise the minimum wage; this amount could improve transportation and infrastructure, could add thousands of beds to hospitals, and could also help develop the Negev and the Galilee. And of course with locally produced oil, the price of fuel will drop significantly, since the consumer will no longer need to bear the heavy tax included in the consumer price that each of us is compelled to pay today.
Please note! This is a great opportunity for the State of Israel
Did you know that Israel consumes about 30 thousand tons of oil, which is about 270 thousand barrels per day, meaning about one billion barrels per year?
We use oil for all the necessities of life – from fuel, through the materials for paving roads, to plastic materials for the food and medicine industries. In addition, the World Energy Organization states that oil will still exist as an energy source in 2035. Without it we cannot go to work, defend the country or even simply fly abroad.
Gas discoveries have improved the energy situation of the State of Israel, but our lives still depend on oil, which comes to us from countries such as Azerbaijan – by way of Turkey.
We are still dependent on foreign countries as oil suppliers, which could put Israel in a dangerous situation politically, economically and most of all – in terms of security.
Imagine what would happen if one of these countries shuts down the pipeline? In what situation will the State of Israel find itself in the next war against Hezbollah? What if Nasrallah follows up on his threats to bomb energy sources and all ports – including Ben Gurion Airport and the Port of Haifa? What will happen then? The answer is disturbing. Within a few short weeks, Israel could find itself, for the first time since the Yom Kippur War, in a state of existential threat.
If we have oil on the Golan Heights, we don’t have the privilege to forego it.
We at Afek believe that protecting the environment is the key to the success of the project, therefore we are working guided by our commitment to the environment and to the community, in a very responsible and transparent manner, and in coordination with all relevant authorities and bodies. We are in full compliance with the directives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Water Authority, and under their close supervision.
Since the drilling search is temporary, the sites selected facilitate implementation of work without a significant change to the land, while utilizing existing infrastructure. In addition, the company selected for drilling, Viking Drilling, is one of the oldest, most experienced and advanced in the world.
We pledge that, even if we find and produce oil, we will continue to maintain the Golan in its green, pleasant and clean state. How are we going to do it?
Our scientists, geologists and engineers – each in their own field – have invested considerable efforts in the formulation of a unique program that relates to all the issues. The modern production technologies we use, such as diagonal and horizontal drilling, facilitate subterranean drilling from a single site no bigger than the area of a basketball court. This practice, which is widely used in the world, also allows for flexibility in selecting drilling sites, taking into consideration the environment and the local population.