Why Aren’t We Drilling for Oil In Israel Already?

Why Aren’t We Drilling Already?

Note: Post updated 4/1/2016

Good question. Many of our Zion Friends and Shareholders are eager to know when we are going to be drilling for oil in Israel and why it seems to be taking us so long. Believe me — we are eager for the oil in Israel or natural gas in Israel to be discovered in a Zion well!

This is a complicated question, but here are the major issues we face – and some minor ones too.

We drill in Israel

This may not seem like a big deal, but drilling in Israel presents unique difficulties with every new project and well site.

Zion Oil & Gas is an U.S. corporation that has to apply to the Israeli government for the right to a license to be the exclusive party to explore on a given parcel of land and potentially drill a well.

For example, in Texas, the approval to drill once you have a mineral lease might take a few days to a week. In Israel, the process can take up to about a year, if the drilling permit is even granted. Because Israel is relatively new to the oil and gas industry they are understandably cautious about where and how others search for these natural resources.


Zion Oil & Gas drill bits (Image taken 2011)

They evaluate drilling projects on a case by case basis, reviewing the details of each proposal individually. Unlike other countries that have a long history of oil and gas production, Israel has recently undergone a process of establishing new and ever-changing laws, guidelines and regulations.

As Israel learns and adapts to the world of oil and gas, we hope that the timeline will shorten. Until then, we make the most of the time and resources we have available.

Limited Supply

There are a limited supply of oil exploration rigs and crews to do the work we require. For onshore drilling, there is essentially one drilling company in Israel with very old rigs. While we want to do all we can to support Israel’s economy and we have used them before, this limits our options.

Zion Oil & Gas Drill Rig (Image 2011)

Zion Oil & Gas Drill Rig (Image 2011)

We are currently looking to import a modern rig to drill in Israel. To make matters worse, surrounding countries have drilled for oil for decades, but aren’t always willing to partner with Israel because of the political climate. Welcome to the Middle East.

Exxon, Shell and… Zion Oil & Gas

Most people outside of the industry think that we have the means and the equipment to drill – start to finish. Well that may be true for a company like Exxon-Mobil but not for us – not yet. Oil and gas companies provide the funds and employ geological teams to find the next spot to drill.

Drilling companies however, specialize in certain types of drilling. They both work together to do get the job done. The bigger the company, the more tools, funds and responsibilities they can take on themselves. Obviously, this is where we want to be, but not where we are just yet.


Zion Oil & Gas rig worker (image taken 2011)

The Big Picture,

If you really think about it, this is real work. Nothing happens as quickly as you’d hope. Everything is more difficult than it should be. Exploration projects take much longer and cost much more in Israel than expected.

Whereas drilling a deep well in Texas might cost $8-10 million, it would likely cost twice or three times that much in Israel. Israeli drilling crews do not work 24/7, 365 days a year. They shut down at sunset each day and do not work during Shabbat (Sabbath). This definitely slows the process down! We believe in giving you accurate details as we are able.


Western Wall in Jerusalem on Shabbat (Sabbath)

The responsibility we have to each other and to our shareholders weighs heavily on us. We know that you have invested your resources and your heart in supporting Israel and finding oil within her borders. Please be patient – we must fully evaluate all options and we are diligently pursuing leads to develop them into drillable prospects. It is our fervent desire to be good stewards of shareholder money and trust.

We welcome any questions or concerns you have. We believe that our God is able, regardless of the obstacles. We are grateful that you have decided to partner with us and look forward to sharing in the “blessings” with you.

“I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3

What are your thoughts? Questions? Please let us know in the comment section below.