With news about the possible imminent collapse or possible breakthrough of Middle East peace talks swarming all forms of media, the issue of the booming Israeli economy, the seeming success of the Givot Olam (GIVO.L) oil company, and the finding of even more natural gas off the coast of Haifa is being almost entirely overlooked. Regarding Israel’s finances, the chairman of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, was just given an A by Global Finance magazine for his steering of Israel’s economy through one of the most dangerous periods in economic history since just before the Great Depression. Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke received a C in contrast.
The natural gas front is even more exciting. Noble Energy, and Israeli company that jointly owns the Tamar natural gas well off the coast of Haifa together with Delek Group, announced last Thursday that the Leviathan well contains three times the amount of natural gas as the Tamar site totaling close to 24 trillion cubic feet. This is a subtle, yet huge change from previous estimates that Leviathan only contained twice the amount of gas as Tamar. It is assumed that if the estimations of the amount of gas at Leviathan are correct, all of Israel’s energy needs will be met for decades to come with leftover for export.
On the crude oil front, the Givot Olam oil company finally let loose with the information its investors were seeking, if only in part. Givot estimates that it can extract 15 million barrels of oil from the field in Rosh HaAyin. A small fraction of the billion plus barrels said to be lurking in the earth, but an impressive sum nonetheless. The announcement didn’t stop the company’s share from tanking 20% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, however, as the company has been stingy for information. Despite the plunge, Tel Aviv is only 1% shy of reaching its all time market high.
All in all, while peace talks crumble yet again amid the ending of the Judea and Samaria building freeze, the economic forecast for Israel remains off the charts.