12 Oct 2020

The Business Kings

World leaders Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have plenty of critics, but what the critics can’t do is criticize the economies built by these unique men.

Even with the Chinese Coronavirus, the American economy is on its way back. Assuming he wins re-election, Trump will preside over a bravo surge next year.

And while Bibi has the usual arrows aimed at him in Israel, no one can deny his genius when making his country the jewel of the Middle East. Big news hit this week:

“US oil and gas conglomerate Chevron has completed its acquisition of Noble Energy, which operates two gas fields off Israel’s coast, following approval by the Texas-based company’s shareholders.

“The finalization of the sale was hailed by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who called it ‘tremendous news for Israel’s economy’ and said it would open up ‘huge investment opportunities for high-tech and start-ups in the energy sector.’

“In July, Chevron announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement with  Noble Energy to buy all outstanding shares in an all-stock transaction valued at $5 billion. The total value of the deal, including debt, is $13 billion, Chevron said.

“Noble Energy has stakes in Israel’s mammoth gas fields, Tamar and Leviathan.”

A Foreign Affairs piece sheds more light on the benefits to Israel:

“Israel stands to be the main beneficiary of the eastern Mediterranean’s bounty, due mainly to the geographic distribution of recent discoveries. In 2009 and 2010, a pair of U.S.-Israeli consortiums exploring the seabed near Haifa discovered the Tamar and Leviathan fields, which collectively hold an estimated 26 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas. The timing of these discoveries was opportune. Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, Israel has suffered frequent supply interruptions and the eventual termination of its contract with Egypt, which had previously provided 40 percent of the gas Israel consumed, at below-market rates. The Tamar and Leviathan fields, once developed, could satisfy Israel’s electricity needs for the next 30 years and even allow it to become a net energy exporter.”

Lebanon tried to say some of this was in their territorial waters, but in fact Israel owns all this vast oil and gas field. It’s quite remarkable how this game-changer affects the Middle East. This, combined with the thaw in relations between Israel and the Arab states, gives us pause in giving hard predictions about the future. At least in terms of when this or that prophecy will be fulfilled.

I know, I know. I preach this a lot. But it astonishing how different that neighborhood is in just the past three years. Under Obama, the Middle East was burning (intentionally, I believe). Now, it is on the verge of being the oasis many have longed for it to be.

Of course, we don’t know how this will last, either.

And, I will be the first to admit that this very rich field would be very attractive to a northern nation, say, a Bear to the far north?