Oil's Next Major Player

Will Israel be the next major player in the global oil market? The World Energy Council seems to think so. They estimate that Israel could produce up to 250 billion barrels of oil thanks to its shale deposits, which are the second-biggest in the world. According to the Wall Street Journal, this would bring Israel’s oil production close to that of Saudi Arabia and potentially change the political landscape in the Middle East.

The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens spoke with Varney & Co. today, to discuss if this could lead to Israel’s oil independence.

According to Stephens, that “if” centers around one question: “Can you move this shale oil and really convert it into barrels of oil?”

As oil prices continue to rise, more and more attention has shifted to the potential of shale deposits and making the conversion possible.

If Israel is able to transform it into oil and become energy independent, “They can become a huge net oil exporter looking 10-20 years down the road,” said Stephens.

The timing couldn’t be better. Stephens says exploring unconventional sources of oil will only become increasingly attractive as China and India continue to increase their oil consumption.

“You are looking at a world that is moving from 88 million or so barrels a day up to 120 million barrels a day,” said Stephens.

While Israel only requires 300,000 barrels of oil a day, it gets it all by tanker. According to Stephens, during the Israel-Hezbollah War it came within days of running out.

“If Israel has energy independence, that completely transforms the strategic picture for the country,” said Stephens.