In 2012 the Minister of Energy adopted the recommendation of the Petroleum Council and decided to stop granting new exploration licenses in the offshore area of Israel. This temporary hold up was intended to allow for the Ministry to assess the new gas discoveries, update its gas policy and improve its regulatory system and technical capabilities. After several years of preparation the serving Minister, Dr. Yuval Steinitz decided, following again the Petroleum Council’s recommendation, to open the Mediterranean Sea for new exploration activity.
Granting of exploration rights is governed by the Petroleum Law. The law allows for two types of granting mechanism, through license applications or through a competitive bidding process. Up till now exploration activity onshore and offshore Israel was conducted based on submitted applications for license areas. To exhaust all the potential for oil and gas resources in the offshore, the Ministry decided to apply the second granting mechanism of competitive bid rounds to all the Israeli EEZ area.