Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute, specializing in energy matters and the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
Articles & Testimony
Supplying more reliable electricity to West Bank and Gaza residents could help change the political atmosphere and enable more diplomatic progress in the future.
Although in strict legal terms its status is ambiguous, a twenty-five-year exploration license for the marine area off the Gaza Strip was awarded by the Palestinian Authority in 1999. The Gaza Marine field was discovered the following the year, though its natural gas has yet to be exploited. Politics as well as failure to agree on commercial terms have been the principal reasons for the delay. Exploitation of the field would provide the Palestinian Authority with an important revenue stream. Using Gaza Marine gas may also reduce Israel's need to consume its own natural gas to generate electricity for the Palestinians. Ultimately the decision will be political, but in economic terms, the case for the exploitation of Gaza Marine is strong.