The Tamar drilling natural gas production platform is seen some 25 kilometers West of the Ashkelon shore on March 28, 2013 in Israel.(Albatross via Getty Images)

Gas fields off the coast of Israel in the past few years have upped the stakes in the Eastern Mediterranean, with surrounding countries looking to get in on the action—and profits. Just weeks after the Turkish navy intercepted a Norwegian exploration vessel looking for gas off the coast of southern Cyprus, Israel’s Tamar gas field—which is “estimated to contain 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas”—has inked its first export agreement. The partners behind the Tamar gas field have agreed sell $500 million of gas over the next 15 years to two different Jordanian companies, Haaretz reports.

Under the agreement, Tamar will supply 66 billion cubic feet of gas a year to Arab Potash and its unit, Jordan Bromine – a joint venture with U.S. Albemarle, and the Jordanian version of Makhteshim Agan – at their facilities near the Dead Sea, Noble Energy said Wednesday.

In total, the Jordanian buyers have agreed to buy some 1.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

As Nicholas Saidel and Julian Kasdin wrote in January, the gas fields open up a new maritime front, which presents a unique set of challenges—and opportunities—for Israel, not known as a

Israel’s goal is not just to be energy-independent, but to become a major energy exporter. Its ultimate objective is to transport the bulk of its gas to Europe, but it aims to sell locally to the Palestinians, and to Jordan—a diversification strategy inspired, in part, by its long experience with disruptions to gas pipelines in the Sinai. Israel is also offering its technological expertise and has partnered with Cyprus and Greece to assist the development of Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas field.

Israel seems to be getting its sea legs.

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