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Shell drops Gaza offshore gas field project Open in fullscreen

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Shell drops Gaza offshore gas field project

Israel has maintained a crippling siege on Gaza for more than a decade. [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 March, 2018

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Plans to develop the Gaza Marine, estimated to hold over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, have been put off several times over the past decade.

Royal Dutch Shell has pulled out of a project to develop natural gas fields off the coast of Gaza, forcing Palestinian officials to find a new foreign group to replace it.

Palestinian Authority ministers said on Monday they had been informed that the energy giant was giving up its stake in an undeveloped natural gas field, with officials trying to "attract a global company" to take its place.

Shell had struggled to find a buyer for its 55 percent stake in the Gaza Marine field, which it took over during its acquisition of BG Group in 2016.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Plans to develop the Gaza Marine - estimated to hold over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which is the equivalent of Spain's consumption in 2016 - have been put off several times over the past decade.

The delays have been due to internal Palestinian political rivalries and Israeli wars on the besieged enclave.

The project has long been touted as a golden economic opportunity for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

The Palestine Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund, now remains the sole stakeholder.

Israel has maintained a crippling siege of the Gaza Strip for more than a decade which it says is necessary to isolate Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars with since 2008.

Human rights groups say it amounts to collective punishment of Gaza's residents.

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