Israel's rape of Gaza's natural resources - 2/4

The Palestine Telegraph - Peter Eyre

2009 sep 17

UK -  Noble Energy discovered the Mari B natural gas field in March of 2000 and commenced Israel's first offshore production on the 24/12/2003. Production facilities are sized to produce up to 600 MMcfpd. Noble Energy estimated the total recoverable reserves to exceed one trillion cubic feet. Noble Energy is the operator of the project with a 47.059 pct working interest with Israeli partners Avner Oil Exploration Limited Partnership 23 pct Delek Drilling Limited Partnership 25.5 pct and Delek Investments and Properties Ltd. 4.441 pct.

But can we say with great confidence that the Mari B natural gas field and the adjacent Noa fields are totally owned by Israel? Do they finish on the border as shown on this Noble Energy Map? Do the disputed borders comply with normal United Nations Convention On The Law Of The Sea (UNCLOS) protocol? Do the Israelis ever accept or comply with the International Maritime Law? Surprisingly the answer to all of the above is most definitely no!

We have repeatedly seen the failings of the UN to uphold international law. We saw the Oslo Accord in 1995, which gave the fishermen of Gaza a 20 nautical mile (nm) zone, fall into tatters after careful manipulation by the Israeli Government. This was then followed by the Bertini Agreement in 2002 which gave them a 12nm zone, although little is known about this agreement. Since this time we have seen the IDF reduce this zone down to 6nm in 2006. On top of all this we have other restrictions such as Zone K (a buffer zone) on the Northern border with Israel which is 1.5nm wide and to the South we have Zone M on the Egyptian border and that is 1nm wide. In between we have Zone L that basically is also totally controlled by the Israel Navy in a very aggressive manner.

The Israeli Navy was given the security of the offshore Gaza Marine Area by Mr Abbas and this has now become a full scale blockade area. Almost daily the naval gunboats intimidate the fishermen and keep them close to the shore with total disregard of any agreement reached. One can clearly see that this action has nothing to do with fishing but rather the total militarisation of the Gaza Strip and the security of the natural offshore resources.

My next question would be why would the Israeli Government and Noble Energy select to drill right on the Gaza (Palestinian) border? Why have buffer zones? Do they have some hidden agenda or plans to rape Gaza of its own resources?

We have seen this in other parts of the world whereby the drilling company uses slant or diagonal drilling techniques to enter a cross border oil or gas reserve.

There is also the question of an Oil Rig or Platform Exclusion Zones that offers safe navigation and protection to both rigs and shipping. In the case of the Mari B it is sitting less than 1 nautical mile from Gazan Waters and therefore it would be impossible to implement such an arrangement without both countries agreeing to the terms.

I know for a fact that the recommended safety radius for the Mari B was to have been 6nm so is this part of the reason for creating a buffer zone and how can the Israelis implement such a zone that places it well inside Gazan Waters? The other issue is that in the case where one country restricts the activities of another (such as their legal fishing zone) then that country has to compensate the fishermen for the loss of that part of their fishing zone.

The most important issue from my perspective is the fact that the borders have not been clarified by the UNCLOS and continue to remain as disputed borders. Again I think there is another hidden agenda! I believe that Israel's Mari B field does in actual fact enter into Gazan Waters and should this be the case the field could be classified as jointly owned. Israel has been receiving natural gas from this field since 2003 and no one flickered an eyelid or challenged them.

In the case of the two adjacent fields of Noa and Noa South (which Israel claims to be their own) both are certainly well inside the Palestinian Border. We could be seeing here a classic case of the exploitation of Palestinians Natural Resources. The UN has already identified this rape but again does nothing.

The geology of the entire area makes exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean an extremely attractive business. The sea bed contains an extremely thick salt encrusted layer (from the days when the Mediterranean was dry) with natural gas sitting below. I would also be bold enough to say that much deeper below this gas sits crude oil. The sub terrain in the region is highly active with tectonic plate movement as well as major rifts. These extend from down in the Democratic Republic of Congo running up through Southern Sudan to the Red Sea and Dead Sea area. It has been know for such areas to keep recharging themselves due to the enormous pressure below the surface of the earth.

We also have to understand that both crude oil and natural gas also sits in pockets in the onshore region of Palestine and Israel. It is interesting to note that one of the well heads that has been producing crude oil for Israel for some years sits off the Northeast tip of the Gaza Strip and was once Palestinian Territory.

Whilst still on the subject of the rift area described above we should now look at the severe restrictions that exist in the West Bank. When one looks at the map on the left we can clearly see that Israel is in control of more than half of the territory that is supposed to belong to Palestine.

Maybe again we can see some hidden agenda raising its ugly head. In history the region around the Dead Sea revealed some interesting aspects when large chunks of tar like substance appeared at many locations. There has always been a strong interest in what lies below this strange moonscape environment and historically it is evident that again we see a clear sign of much oil and gas in the region.

Could we again see a similar situation developing in West Bank region that occurred in the Gaza offshore area? Is the reason behind the militarisation of the entire Eastern Sector of the West Bank all related to the Israelis greed for oil and gas at whatever the cost? Are we again seeing the exploitation of Palestinian natural resources?

It is with great shame that we see the failings of the United Nations in upholding international law. They have repeatedly observed this arrogant nation take whatever it wants, whenever it wants. The UN continues to sit on their hands and do nothing. The world knows that what is going on here can only be described as "Slow Genocide" with the overall intention of removing all those of Arabic origin and to reclaim the land that they say was given to them in the Bible. Imagine how different the situation would be today if when Abraham stood on Mt Sinai to receive this gift that he had chosen to settle his people in the area surrounding the mountain and the Sinai Peninsular. Had he done so Palestine would have been left alone under its rightful ownership?

In Part 3 we will look at the potential rape of Palestine's natural resources in much greater detail and look at the so called disputed borders and military controlled regions that may reveal other hidden agenda.


Next  Part 3