Former Shell Chief Scientist: Israel to be Major Force in Energy Market

A former Royal Dutch Shell plc Chief Scientist has urged the international oil and gas industry to take note of the significant potential that Israel has to become a major force in the energy market.

Dr. Harold J. Vinegar said Tuesday: "These are very exciting times for Israel’s budding energy industry. The same qualities which made Israel's high-tech sector a global success story could lead its energy sector to similar success."

Currently, Dr. Vinegar is chief scientist at Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), Afek Israel Oil & Gas and Genie Oil & Gas. He is involved in leading a number of onshore exploration programs in Israel, including an oil shale project.

IEI holds an exclusive shale oil exploration and production license in the Shfela region of Israel. It is developing what promises to be an environmentally acceptable approach to producing clean transportation fuels from oil shale, utilizing an "In-Situ" conversion technology that Dr. Vinegar had a leading role in inventing. The Shfela basin holds a total of 150 billion barrels of oil equivalent, more than 40 billion barrels of which are in IEI's license area.

Meanwhile, Israel's offshore region has seen the discovery of estimated gross resources of more than 35 trillion cubic feet of gas since 2009.

The organizers of the Universal Oil & Gas Dead Sea Conference and Exhibition, Israel's first major international oil and gas conference, have announced that Dr. Vinegar will be chair of the event when it takes place in November this year.

Speaking at the 2014 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Tuesday, Universal Oil & Gas CEO Michael Beagelman said:

"We are honored to have Dr. Harold Vinegar as the Chair of UOG 2014. Dr. Vinegar's vast expertise as former Chief Scientist of Shell and his current work in Israel, will provide an important overview of Israel's oil and gas industry. Israel stands on the brink of energy independence and we are proud to have one of the leading pioneers in the industry as our chair."

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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