30 Mln Barrels of Oil in West Bank: Palestinian Government
    2013-11-10 21:55:46     Xinhua       Web Editor: Cui

The Palestinian government said Sunday that its studies indicate the West Bank has at least 30 million barrels of oil in reserves.

"We are seeking international investment firms to drill for the petrol," Mohammed Mustafa, the Palestinian deputy prime minister, told Xinhua. "We hope we will publish invitations for tenders in the coming weeks."

Mustafa said the discovery of the oil and gas in the West Bank is considered as "an important step" for the Palestinian economy," as the Palestinian government has to import oil and gas from Israel.

"This finding will contribute to increasing Palestine's revenues and financial resources and promoting a comprehensive economic development."

But the exploration and extraction of the oil are likely to face obstacles from Israel, which occupies many parts of the West Bank.

Earlier, Palestinian officials accused Israel of seizing a field estimated to have 1.5 billion barrels of oil and 182 billion cubic meters of natural gas west of Ramallah.

About 80 percent of the field is located in Palestinian- controlled area of the West Bank, the officials said, adding however, Israel gets about 800 barrels of oil from it on a daily basis.

"The Israeli obstacles in front of the Palestinian economy are ongoing in all aspects, but no party has the right to prevent us from using our natural resources," he said.

On Friday, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said the government can get 150 million U.S. dollars annually in profit from producing natural gas in a field off the Gaza Strip's coast. But Mustafa said there are "multiple political complications" preventing the production of gas.

The gas reservoir was discovered in 2000 by the Britain-based energy firm British Gas and its partners -- the Lebanese Consolidated Contractors Company and the Palestinian government's Investment Fund. Later in the year, the consortium said it drilled two wells, Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2, with estimated resources of around one trillion cubic feet of gas.

However, the production of the gas was never realized and the circumstances became more even complicated when Islamic Hamas movement, which does not recognize Israel, took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.

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