Evidence of natural gas deposit found off Gaza Coast

Friday, February 28, 2014

In statements to the press on Monday and Tuesday, Dr. Salem Salama, a member of the Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council's economic committee, said signs of a natural gas deposit were found off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

Dr. Salama said the gas field had been found by Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, who noticed bubbling in the water which they first assumed was from fish or plants moving underwater. He added, samples from the site had been taken by navy personnel to the Islamic University, where they were verified. In a statement to AFP he said "preliminary tests carried out by experts from the Islamic University suggest that there is a natural gas field near the coast".

In an interview to the Gazan radio station Sout Al-Aqsa, Salama said the gas deposit lies only 200 to 300 meters from the central coast of the Gaza Strip, which would "facilitate the work of any company that might invest in this field. The return will be great for the Gaza Strip, in economic terms".

Deputy Hamas Prime Minister Mr. Ziad Al-Zaza calmed down the excitement regarding the issue in a comment to AFP. "[W]e need to conduct further studies to confirm that there is any gas", he said. "This requires probing by specialist companies because we don't have the adequate laboratories and experts here".

The Gaza Strip, which has been governed by Hamas since 2007, is now experiencing the most severe energy crisis in its history. Following the lack of fuels, the residents of the Gaza Strip sometimes need to manage with only 12 hours of electricity a day. This evidence of natural gas fields may offer a resolution to the crisis.