Analysis by Energy Workforce President Tim Tarpley
On Saturday, Israel suffered a massive, coordinated attack at the hands of Hamas terrorists that was launched using a variety of means, including land, air and sea – entering Israel and conducting coordinated killings of civilians, attacks on police and military, and kidnapping multiple civilians.
At least 100 hostages were taken to Gaza and are being used by Hamas as human shields. At time of writing, Israel believes that more than 1,200 of its citizens have been killed and almost as many have been killed in Gaza as a result of Israeli retaliatory military strikes. In response, Israel has launched an aerial bombardment of Gaza targeting Hamas.
This massive attack came as a surprise to many Western intelligence agencies. The implications to the world energy markets and world trade are unclear at this point but could be quite significant. Should the conflict remain localized with only Israel and Gaza involved, markets may remain relatively stable. However, if the conflict pulls in other regional players or the United States, the effects could be quite wide-ranging.
We have seen some limited shutdowns so far offshore in the Mediterranean, as Israel does produce a fair amount of natural gas in the Tamar field, which is produced by Chevron. Most of this gas is exported to Jordan and Egypt. Israel announced Monday they would be shutting this field down due to continued attacks in the area.
As of now, some foreign intelligence agencies believe the Iranians could have been involved or given some sort of sign-off to Hamas, however this has not been confirmed by Western intelligence. Such a confirmation could force Israel to respond against Iran, increasing the prospect of an expanding regional conflict. The United States has directed the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean to provide support to Israel.
Should the conflict grow, Iran has long threatened to shut down shipping activity in the Strait of Hormuz, a location where they have attacked and harassed international shipping in recent months. Such an action on the part of Iran could cause significant disruption to world energy markets and international supply chains, and will certainly cause a supply crunch.
Even with a more limited regional response, we can expect a continued focus on energy security in many capitols around the world, especially considering the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other regional conflicts that are going on at the same time.
Tim Tarpley, Energy Workforce President, analyzes federal policy for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.