The suspension of Egyptian gas supply to Israel has lighted a fire under the feet of Israeli officials, businessmen and shareholders trying to assess how events in Egypt will affect Israel's energy economy.
Initial assessments that it is in Egypt's interests to keep the lucrative gas deals with Israel may prove right when the dust settles. But the shake-up in Egypt is a wake-up call for Israel, too.
Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau urged hastened development of the Tamar gas field Sunday. Meanwhile, Israel can increase quantities from its southern reserve and may have to compensate for the loss of Egyptian gas by using more coal and oil-based fuels to produce electricity.
Israel was hoping to move away from such dirtier energy sources for various reasons, including a pledge to reduce greenhouse emissions. Recently the government approved a national plan to develop technologies to reduce global use of oil in transportation. Global dependence on oil and the countries that produce it is bad for both the environment and economic stability, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
But industries and economies still rely on fossil fuels. Increasing costs and depleting reserves are driving new technologies that, well, scrape the bottom of the barrel to produce energy.
And surprise (OK, maybe not to geologists) -- Israel is sitting on a potential fortune.