Israel ups the pressure on Syria whose oil and gas in the Levant Basin and Golan Heights are coveted by many companies. According to a U.S. Geological Survey, the Levant Basin contains and estimated 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. Israel has issued Genie Energy a permit to drill for oil within the Golan Heights.

Genie Energy had been issued an exclusive permit on Wednesday by Israel’s Energy and Water Resources Ministry to drill for oil.

This allows for oil exploration in a 153 square mile in the south of Golan Heights.

“Based on its preliminary analysis and interpretation of existing geological data, that the newly issued license area may contain significant quantities of conventional oil and gas in relatively tight formations, the development of which would entail significantly different technical approaches and project timelines than the other projects,” Genie Energy said in a statement.

Israel annexed Golan from Syria in June 1967 after a six-day war, with an estimated 2,500 Syrian fatalities and 591 taken prisoner. Despite being annexed in 1981, this move is not internationally recognised.

Israel-Syria peace talks halted oil permits for the area 20 years ago, with the relinquishment of Golan being one of the key facets. The talks however were never resolved.

But the plot thickens. According to IDT (parent of Genie Energy), both Lord (Jacob) Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch have a stake in the energy company. Interesting how it all plays out.

Genie Energy Corporation (Genie Energy), a division of IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C), today announced that Lord (Jacob) Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch have each purchased equity stakes in Genie Oil and Gas Inc. Jacob Rothschild will join Rupert Murdoch on Genie Energy’s Strategic Advisory Board and Jacob Rothschild’s interests will partner with Genie Energy to raise capital for the eventual commercialization of its oil shale projects.

Jacob Rothschild and Mr. Murdoch separately purchased equity positions equivalent to a cumulative 5.5% stake in Genie Oil and Gas Inc., which consists of IDT’s interests in American Shale Oil, LLC (AMSO), and Israel Energy Initiatives, Ltd., (IEI), for a total of $11.0 million dollars.

Source: The Telegraph, IDT

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