UOG 2014: Oil & Gas in the Promised Land

On November 18, Israel will host its first-ever international oil and gas conference at the David Dead Sea Resort. The three-day event, called “Universal Oil & Gas 2014”, aims to create a platform for collaboration, partnership and networking opportunities in the emerging Israeli oil and gas industry.

As well as a speaker roster of energy experts from around the world, UOG 2014 will welcome delegations from Texas, Aberdeen, Denmark and Russia as well as from a number of other oil hubs.

Rigzone, which will be reporting from the conference, recently caught up with UOG Chief Operating Officer Joshua Beagelman to find out how preparations for the conference are going.

In terms of speakers, Beagelman has produced an impressive list. Representatives of companies as diverse as oilfield engineering firm GE Oil & Gas and local oil and gas explorer Delek Drilling will be taking part in the event. And former Royal Dutch Shell plc Chief Scientist Dr. Harold Vinegar will be delivering a keynote speech about his work at Genie Oil & Gas, which is aiming to exploit oil shale deposits onshore Israel.

Beagelman is cock-a-hoop that the speaker list also includes significant figures from government organizations that oversee the oil and gas industry. That the Texas Railroad Commissioner, whose remit includes regulating the oil and gas sector in the U.S. State, will be speaking at the event "is quite a big statement", according to Beagelman.

"It's important to have the regulator from one of the key hubs of the industry coming to a relatively new, emerging market like Israel to look at the opportunities," he said.

"We will obviously have the [Israeli] minister of energy involved as well. Israel has not marketed itself yet globally to attract the right players and this is an opportunity for the country to do that, so to have the minister of energy involved is also very important."

Delegates to the UOG 2014 conference are most likely to focus on the opportunities created by the discovery of several trillion cubic feet (Tcf) on Israeli territory after gas was first discovered offshore in 1998. Two discoveries by Noble Energy, Tamar in 2009 and Leviathan in 2010, have been estimated to contain gross mean resources of 10 Tcf and 19 Tcf respectively.

Noble Energy's Israel Country Manager, Binyamin Zomer, is also on the list of speakers for UOG 2014.

Since it became an independent state in 1948, Israel has been surrounded by enemies and involved in several wars for its existence. However, in some respects its new-found gas wealth could be used to help the country build bridges in the region.

Beagelman plans to have an official from the Israeli Foreign Ministry to talk about this, especially since Israel is now working with its neighbors to export gas to them. Partners in the Tamar gas field – led by Noble and Delek – already have a deal in place to supply billions of cubic feet of gas annually to Union Fenosa Gas's LNG plant in Egypt and to the Kingdom of Jordan. And only last month, the Tamar consortium announced another deal to supply gas to Egypt – this time to private customers.

"It's good timing," Beagelman said. "And it's significant because it's not the government doing this; this is private businesses. And that makes it all the more interesting because it shows that the business sector can have an effect on the geopolitical side because suddenly you have Israel supplying gas to Jordan and Egypt and potentially even to Europe in the future through Turkey. So, the geopolitical side comes into play in a positive way."

UOG 2014, the first international oil and gas conference and exhibition in Israel, will take place at the David Dead Sea Resort Hotel November 18-20, 2014.

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