Natural Gas Can Deepen U.S.-Israel Commercial Ties
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Israel recently discovered world-class natural gas reserves off its coast, presenting a range of new possibilities for the country – economic, strategic, and political. This news presents the nation with an opportunity to strengthen its energy sector while introducing a new revenue stream. Since Israel does not have the infrastructure in place yet to access and refine its natural gas resources, it has turned to U.S. private sector expertise.
For this reason, the U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Israel Business Initiative announced the launch of a new program to enhance U.S.-Israel energy cooperation last week at a dinner with a high-ranking delegation of Israeli officials. Chaired by Noble Energy, the largest investor in Israel’s growing natural gas sector, the program aims to enhance the Israeli government’s understanding of the global energy sector while establishing robust and mutually rewarding commercial ties between Israel’s hydrocarbon sector and U.S. businesses.
The Israeli delegation discussed the challenges and opportunities in developing Israel’s new energy portfolio and ways in which energy cooperation could be a new vista for broader U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation.
The timing for this partnership could not be better. While American companies are establishing themselves to lead the way in developing Israel’s natural gas sector and other sectors that accompany growth of the industry, policymakers are establishing the regulatory regime that will shape the sector for future generations. Reflecting the range of potential areas for collaboration, discussions at the dinner included ways that the United States and Israel could cooperate on the implementation of regulations, export policy, environmental policies, and industry standards.
Louisiana’s senior Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) joined the dinner and discussed opportunities for states like Louisiana and Texas to share best practices and lessons learned in developing a natural gas industry. She said, “Israel’s historic gas discovery of more than over 27 trillion cubic feet is a game changer, both economically, and geo-politically - the U.S. is eager to share our expertise to help this critical ally successfully develop these resources.”
Last week, the Chamber also co-hosted an event on Capitol Hill with Major General (Ret.) Danny Rothschild, Director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya, who discussed the importance of greater U.S.-Israel cooperation on energy security in light of a volatile and ever-changing Middle East.
By bolstering these strategic relationships, we can promote long-term strategic relationships in the Middle East, while enhancing our economies and creating new employment opportunities for Americans and Israelis alike.