The Last Laugh
J. Paul Getty, the multi-billionaire, was once asked the secret of making a fortune. He replied, “Rise early, work hard, and strike oil.”
Ever since the Nation of Israel came into being in 1948, there has been an ongoing effort to strike oil in the Promised Land (like that of its Arab neighbours). Finally in 1986, after 440 dry well diggings, the hope was given up. But then came a Jew by the name of Dr. Harold Vinegar. Dr. Vinegar is the legendary physicist for the Shell Oil Company who had recently retired and moved to Jerusalem. He studied the topography of the land and decided to drill a well in the Valley Of Elah (David and Goliath). And like Mr. Getty, Mr. Vinegar struck oil. The deposits are not the deep depth of the oil in the Gulf States (in liquid form because of the great heat), but nor are they the shallow depth of the oil in the Alberta tar sands (where great heat must be applied to the shale). This oil is somewhere between those two. The technical term for the oiled slabs is kerogen. Dr. Vance called in the experts from Shell and they issued him the following report. Number one, when it comes to the expense of bringing the oil up, it will cost around $30 a barrel. (This is one-third the current cost of oil). And number two, when it comes to the expanse of the oil below, it is an estimated at 250 billion barrels (This is nearly as much oil as Saudi Arabia has.)
Needless to say, Israeli officials are pinching themselves because this all seems too good to be true. But Dr. Vinegar, holding a test tube of a sample produced by heating a small slab of kerogen in a lab has assured them, “It is surprisingly easy to refine, very light, and of a superb quality.” The world-renowned oil-man stakes his personal reputation on it. Even better for Israel, the previous discovery of massive natural gas deposits under its Mediterranean Sea coast line (called Leviathan) has given the State an inexpensive and controlled source of heat to turn the kerogen into oil. So it is not surprising that investment money is starting to flow in, led by Jacob Rothschild (banking family) and Rupert Murdoch (Fox News). And oil stock in Israel has gone from a low of .66 cents a share to now a high of $30 a share.
But most important for the Israeli people is that this will make them totally energy self-sufficient. Before the discovery of the oil and gas, Israel had to import almost 100% of its fossil fuel needs. (This was not only expensive for the economy but crippling in wartime, as insurance companies would not give coverage for foreign oil tankers to enter their ports.)
The bottom line? For years the joke has been that Moses made one mistake when he left Egypt – that of turning left instead of right and missing all the oil. But the prophet had prophesied in Deuteronomy 33:19,
They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas (natural gas), and of treasures hid in the sand (petroleum oil).
No one is laughing at Moses anymore.