There may be massive natural gas deposits lying some 50 kilometers off the coast of Netanya, and a number of multinationals are reportedly interested in possible projects to develop the site. Israel’s Energy Ministry has announced that multinational energy companies were invited to a London conference on the energy industry’s preliminary studies of the extent of the site’s gas reserves. The geological formation known as “Jonah‘ – after the prophet known by tradition to have been swallowed by the whale Leviathan, the latter being the namesake of Israel’s largest gas reserve – has geological characteristics similar to those of the Zohr gas deposit discovered by Eni off the coast of Egypt. A delegation from Israel’s Energy Ministry, led by the Minister of Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz, is reviewing the interests of foreign companies before the tender for new exploration licenses, which is scheduled to be held in mid-November. The tender is the first in four and a half years, following a long period of turbulence concerning regulation of the energy sector, which culminated with the approval of a framework agreement at the beginning of this year. Major participants at the London meeting included Edison and Eni, both of which have expressed interest in the Israeli market in the past. The delegation will then fly to Texas during the coming weeks.