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Areas of Responsibility

Petroleum Rights

The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources is the regulator in charge of petroleum prospecting in Israel, via the Petroleum Unit and the Petroleum Council. In accordance with the Law, there are three types of petroleum rights granted to concessionaires: preliminary permit, license and possession.
Permit: A right granted to a concessionaire, either in land or marine territory, for a period of 18 months, permitting preliminary evaluation of the region’s characteristics and potential.
License: Granted for a period of 3 years, with potential extension of up to seven years per Petroleum Commissioner resolution. License-owners must begin petroleum prospecting within 4 months of license issuance, and must  commence drilling operations no later than two years following license issuance, and must not linger between the drilling of one well and another for more than 4 months. 
In order to augment the number of petroleum prospectors, the following rules were set: a single license will not be issued for properties larger than 400,000sqm within economic land or waters (the marine territories are divided between nations for financial gain. Israel’s economic waters contain 25 million square meters), a single concessionaire will not be in possession of more than 12 licenses, and shall not be licensed for areas exceeding 4 million square meters.
Lease: A concession given for a period of 30 years, with an optional 20 years extension. Possession is granted by the Petroleum Commissioner, after they had been submitted with proof that granting possession rights entails financial benefits (“commercial discovery”). A lease shall not exceed 250,000sqm in surface area, and concessionaires shall not be in possession of areas exceeding 3 million square meters, unless otherwise authorized to that effect by the Petroleum Council.
Permit Application
According to the Petroleum Law and Petroleum Law Regulations, a permit by The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources Petroleum Affairs Officer is required for the execution of any operation related to oil exploration, beginning with preliminary surveys, followed by petroleum prospecting and culminating with drilling and production.
An application must be submitted in accordance with detailed instructions by the Petr. Comm. Inter alia, the application must include information concerning the requested area and its characteristics, a working plan and cost assessment, professional background and experience of the applying team in executing similar projects, agreements between application partners and execution guarantees, substantiation of financial capacity, drilling prospects and others.
The Petr. Comm. and the Petroleum Council may resolve whether or not to issue drilling licenses, per various criteria, such as experience and financial capacity. In addition, the Minister of Energy and Water Resources is entitled to mandate a competition (primary procedure), in which several applications are submitted for the same property. However, the Minister may rely upon the advice of the Petroleum Council, which relays its recommendations to the Petroleum Affairs Officer and reviews the various nominees per professional and financial criteria.
The applications undergo four screening stages:
Professional Committee: This committee consists of petroleum prospecting professionals. Petroleum Unit members present before them the geological model for petroleum or gas prospecting submitted by the applicant and the committee sorts the applications complying with threshold conditions. Even when no competition exists for a certain property (only one application was submitted), there is no guarantee that the submitted application will be approved. The professional committee has no executive authority, and may only provide the Petroleum Council with recommendations. The Committee convenes only after the last submission deadline and before the Petroleum Council convenes.
Petroleum Council: Members are appointed by the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, and must be free-lance professionals. The Council consists, per the Petroleum Law, up to nine members, 5 of whom are public representatives. Council members are allowed to evaluate the material brought before them following the Professional Committee’s session, and to analyze it prior to the Council’s assembly. The Council then formulates recommendations and relays them to the Petroleum Affairs Officer.
Petroleum Affairs Officer: The Officer receives the Council’s recommendations for execution. Normally, the Officer adopts the Council’s recommendations. However, they are entitled (per the Petroleum Law) to reject them, as well. Following Council recommendation receipt, the Officer prepares working plans and other conditions related to right granting in collaboration with Petroleum Unit professionals. 
Minister of Energy and Water Resources: Proceedings and Officer Resolutions are transferred to the Minister, who may evaluate them.
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