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Gas May Solve Israel Energy Needs

October 31, 1999

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Natural gas discovered off Israel’s shores may be enough to supply the country’s short-term energy needs, the country’s oil commissioner said Sunday.

The Israeli drilling company Isramco Inc. on Sunday reported natural gas flow from an offshore test drill near the southern town of Ashkelon.

Together with another natural gas find in a June drill led by Avner Oil Exploration and Delek Drilling, Oil Commissioner Yehezkeel Drukman said the likelihood of the energy-strapped country producing commercial quantities of gas is increasing.

``It seems there are commercial quantities of natural gas in both fields ... which of course must be studied further,″ Drukman told Israel radio. ``It looks like we have two fields, which according to initial calculations could supply all the consumption needs of the Israel Electric Corp. for the next five years,″ he said.

The state-run Israel Electric Corp. consumes most of the country’s fuel imports. No commercial quantities of natural gas or oil have been found within Israeli territory to date.

Drukman warned that Sunday’s findings required further study.

When news of the discovery reached the Tel Aviv stock exchange Sunday, Isramco shares jumped 18 percent.

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