zaterdag 9 februari 2013
Very Soon, Israel will rule the new Middle East
Israel’s future may be brighter than ever. What’s tilting the region’s dynamics toward Israel? Israel is going to be the famous “still point in a turning world”–a world turning in on itself, with little or no energy to spend confronting the Jewish state. And here’s where fracking comes in.
Hydraulic fracking is, of course, is the technology that uses a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to crack open deep deposits of shale oil and natural gas. It’s single-handedly revived our domestic energy industry–to the point where by 2020 we’ll be the world’s biggest oil producer.
What many people don’t know is that the land of Israel holds almost 250 billion barrels of oil shale reserves (that’s according to the World Petroleum Council). That’s almost equal to Saudi Arabia’s 260 billion barrels–and as conventional oil sources there and in the Persian Gulf gets harder to extract (it already’s happening) and the cost goes up, Israel will be the new energy frontier of the region.
It’s already happening. The fracking-savvy Canadians have joined an Israeli energy technology fund, to help companies like Israeli Energy Initiatives begin production of oil shale in reserve-rich areas like the Valley of Elah near Jerusalem; the Russians have signed a deal to help open up the vast natural gas reserves discovered in 2008 and 2009 off Israel’s coast–some 16 trillion cubic feet worth.
Right now production is still tiny, but as fracking technology continues to advance Israel could soon move beyond its declared goal of energy independence, and become a major oil exporting country–including to oil-poor neighbors like Egypt and Syria and Lebanon.
The implications are nothing less than staggering. Instead of an embattled and isolated outpost of Western democracy, Israel would look like the Middle East’s new economic colossus.
Instead of shunning Israel for fear of offending oil-rich Arab states, Western Europeans could find themselves beating a path to Israel’s oil shale fields–and rethinking who they want as their ally in the region, and who they don’t.
That includes the United States. Fracking is changing the world’s economic map; it’s about to change the Middle East. It’s time policy-makers caught up with reality, and realized that our relationship with Israel may be our most important bond to that region’s future.