Palestinian Authority issues oil exploration tender for West Bank

RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 18 Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:41am EDT

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RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 18 (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday issued a tender for oil exploration in the West Bank for a license it said could hold between 30 and 186 million barrels of oil.

The project will be run as a joint venture, with the government-owned Palestine Investment Fund having at least a 25 percent stake, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mohammad Mustafa said in a statement.

The area of the license, outside the West Bank city of Qalqilya, is near a small field being developed by Israeli firm Givot Olam northeast of Tel Aviv.

Bids will be accepted until the end of June, the statement said, and the project is expected to generate more than $1 billion in taxes, royalties and other bonuses for the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli energy expert Amit Mor, CEO of Eco Energy, said there is a need to do seismic and geophysical tests in the area to determine the prospects for further exploration.

"Domestic Palestinian and possibly international investors could be interested in such exploration," he said. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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