Israel exports oil for the first time ever after diplomatic breakthrough with Lebanon

  • Israel launched its first-ever export of crude oil, sending a shipment to Europe.
  • The oil originated from an offshore field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
  • This comes after a deal with Lebanon to settle the maritime borders between the countries.

A vessel is headed to Europe stocked with never-before-seen cargo: Israeli oil.

Israel’s oil export was sold to commodities giant Vitol through a multi-cargo agreement. Referred to as the Karish Blend, it is expected to be valued close to the globe’s average price for crude. 

Israel has been extracting oil through a partnership with Energean, a London-based company leading the development of the Karish field in the eastern Mediterranean. 

“The first ever lifting of an Israeli crude oil cargo has taken place at the company’s Karish field,” Energean said.

Karish primarily produces natural gas and Energean started production at Karish late last year. That came after an unlikely deal was brokered last October between Israel and Lebanon — longtime adversaries that are officially at war — to take advantage of gas and oil deposits discovered off their Mediterranean coasts. 

Though the maritime borders encompassing the area were disputed between the two countries, the agreement split the territory into two, leaving Israel in control of the Karish gasfield.

While the country is still expected to import most of its oil, Israel has become self-sufficient on natural gas and has been exporting it for years.

Gas production has grown significantly, creating export deals with its Middle Eastern partners and helping it move away from a dependence on coal.

Israel’s largest gasfield, Leviathan, also produces some crude oil, but those supplies go to domestic refineries.