Five months after winning an exploration bid in Israel, a consortium of state-run oil and gas firms from India has received a three-year license from Israel’s Ministry of Energy to begin drilling offshore.
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The companies making up the consortium are Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., and Oil India Ltd.
After three years, the consortium will have the option of renewing the license for three more years as long as it commits to continue its drilling activity.
As part of the bidding and licensing process, the consortium was required to provide proof of its financial wherewithal including a minimum of $400 million in assets and $100 million in equity. The energy ministry also required the Indian companies to prove its competency in offshore oil and gas exploration.
Manufacturers' Association of Israel, which represents oil and gas interests, said that “the arrival of a new international operator to the oil and gas industry in Israel is a testament to the considerable hydrocarbon potential in Israel’s economic waters.”
In his comments on the Indian consortium’s license, Israel’s energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, said that a previously announced plan to conduct a new oil and gas exploration bid in 2018 is on track.