Wednesday, March 1, 2006

fwd: Oil In Israel?

I recently wrote about Joel C. Rosenberg's The Ezekiel Option, and how the events of that series are like reading the headlines of today's newspaper. Here's where fiction becomes reality:

From: Joel Rosenberg
Sent: Wed, 01 Mar 2006
Subject: oil in Israel?


Another headline ripped from a novel.
By Joel C. Rosenberg

(WASHINGTON, D.C., March 1, 2006) -- Just in case you're looking for another headline ripped from THE LAST JIHAD series, you might want to take a look at this morning's Boston Globe.

In my novels, as you may recall, a Wall Street strategist-turned-White House advisor (Jon Bennett) funnels money to a petroleum company founded by a Russian Jewish emigre (Dmitri Galishnikov) to drill for oil and gas in Israel. The plan: get rich and radically reshape the geopolitics of the Middle East. Which is exactly what happens -- until all Hell breaks loose.

Now reporter Michael Kranish reports that controversial "lobbyist Jack Abramoff worked with Russian partners to establish a company that envisioned a high-risk plan to drill for oil in Israel, which he hoped would bring him riches and reshape the Middle East."

Kranish quotes Ronald Platt, a former Abramoff partner, saying: "They [the Russians] supposedly had some kind of technology for determining oil and gas resources, they had discovered vast oil and gas deposits in the Israeli desert, and [Abramoff believed that] if these were exploited it would change the whole dynamic of the Middle East."

Abramoff's company never really got off the ground or found what it was looking for. But two other Israeli companies have -- Givat Olam, run by religious Jews (including Russian immigrants), and Zion Oil, run by evangelical Christians. Both companies are driven by Biblical prophecies indicating that massive amounts of oil and natural gas will be found in Israel in "the last days," and both have seen promising results in a series of tests run over the past several years.

The Israeli government has confirmed that Givat Olam, for example, has found nearly one billion barrels of oil in northern Israel. But the company is having difficulty finding a cost effective way to draw the reserves out of a very complex subterranean rock structure. Zion Oil, meanwhile, may have found even more petroleum reserves, close to the site of the ancient city of Megiddo. But they, too, are running into a number of technical challenges.

Last November I was in Israel and interviewed top executives of Zion Oil for the non-fiction book I'm writing, EPICENTER: 10 Future Headlines That Will Change Our World, due out in November from Tyndale. Theirs is a fascinating story, and one I look forward to sharing with you soon.


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