HistoryThe first well, Tamar 1, was drilled to a depth of 16,076 feet (4,900 m). The deposits contained 8.3 trillion cubic feet (240 billion cubic metres) of natural gas. Production is expected to begin in 2012.
At the time of discovery, Tamar gas field was the largest organic find ever discovered in the under-explored area of the Mediterranean Sea and the largest discovery in the history of Noble Energy. Noble Energy operates Tamar with a 36% working interest; Isramco Negev 2 holds 28.75%; Delek Drilling holds 15.63%; Avner Oil Exploration holds 15.63%; and Dor Gas Exploration holds the remaining 4%.
The initiator of the project was oil geologist Joseph Langotsky, who named the Tamar and Dalit fields after his daughter and granddaughter. Langotsky is now suing his former partner, mining tycoon Benny Steinmetz. Langotsky and Steinmetz were the owners of a limited partnership, STX, which had a 5% stake in the exploration rights. When Steinmetz dropped out of the partnership two months before drilling began, Langotsky could not find an investor to replace him and lost his rights to the fields.
 Lebanon's Claim to RightsLebanon has claimed it is possible the basin extends to Lebanese waters. Delek Drilling, one of the partners in the U.S.-Israeli consortium, denied this: "An examination made with the Petroleum Commissioner showed that these claims are not correct and the location of the license where Tamar 1 is being drilled was studied carefully and it was found that the entire area of the license was within territorial waters of the state of Israel." Delek Group chairman Gabi Last added, "The border of Israel's exclusive economic zone waters passes to the north of the Tamar oil drilling, and significantly so."
Marine law expert and Israeli national Amir Cohen-Dor said that the Dalit and Tamar gas fields are within Israel's contiguous economic zone, and that under the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention, Israel can exploit resources in its economic zone. However unlike Lebanon, Israel has not signed or ratified the 1982 UN Law of the Sea which is designed to clarify maritime borders between nations; "In cases of dispute, it is usual practice to hand the decision to arbitrators, which are listed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. Israel isn’t a signatory to the convention because it’s concerned over biased arbitrators." It's unfortunate no maps are provided. While Israel's find is within its territorial exclusive economic zone, the dispute stems from the possibility that the gas field spans to Lebanon's boundary. The situation is made more complicated in that the border between Lebanon and Israel is not agreed upon. Robbie Sabble, a professor of international law at Jerusalem's Hebrew University states; "Lebanon’s claim may be complex because its border with Israel is indented, making it harder to establish where Israel’s sea boundary ends and Lebanese waters begin". A general principle in such a situation is the Rule of capture where each side is permitted to lift as much as it can on its side. Israel has already started exploration and construction on its side, while Lebanese authorities have not yet officially demarcated its exclusive economic zone or initiated a process of attracting bids for exploration rights. Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Basil warned that Lebanon would not allow Israel or any company "serving Israeli interests" to drill gas "that is in our territory". Beirut had previously warned the American Noble Energy company not to approach its territory. In response, Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau warned Lebanon that Israel was willing to use force to protect the gas reserves discovered off its shores.
Lebanese Shi'a Islamist group Hizbullah claims that the Dalit and Tamar gas fields belong to Lebanon and warned Israel against extracting gas from them. Senior officials from Hizbulla warned that they would not hesitate to use weapons to defend Lebanon's natural resources. Figures in the March 14 Forces stated in response that Hizbullah was simply looking for another excuse to hold on to its arms. Lebanese MP Antoine Zahra said that the issue is another item "in the endless list of excuses" meant to justify the continued existence of Hizbullah's arsenal.
In August 2010, Lebanon submitted to the United Nations its version of where the maritime border should be, a proposal that did not include the Tamar and Leviathan gas prospects.
 Export plansIn addition to negotiating with Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), Delek Energy has held talks on exporting natural gas from Tamar to Cyprus.
 See also
- [*]Economy of Israel[/*]
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