Israel, a nation with a flourishing economy, is grappling with a complex situation in the constantly evolving global oil market. Although Israel’s small size might seem like a disadvantage, it has managed to find flexibility within the global oil market, with the effectiveness of a potential embargo hinging on the involvement of crucial oil suppliers, particularly Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
Since mid-May, Israel has been importing approximately 220,000 barrels of crude oil daily. What makes this import intriguing is that nearly 60% of it originates from two predominantly Muslim nations, as reported by the analytics firm Kpler. These nations are none other than Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. West African producers, primarily Gabon, also play a significant role in Israel’s oil supply network.
Despite the potential risk of a full-scale embargo by Muslim-majority nations, Israel is on the brink of diversifying its sources of oil supply. The United States, a staunch ally of Israel, has emerged as a substantial additional supplier of crude in the global seaborne market. Moreover, exports from Brazil, which are steadily finding their way to Israel, are on the rise.
While navigating the global oil market remains a complex endeavor, Israel’s more immediate concern lies in safeguarding its oil ports and adjacent waters. Israel boasts three vital crude import terminals: Ashkelon and Haifa on the Mediterranean coast and Eilat on the Red Sea. Among these, the Ashkelon terminal, handling approximately 180,000 barrels daily, is of paramount importance. However, its proximity to Gaza has led to periodic closures, most recently after a Hamas attack in October. Data from Kpler indicates that no crude has been imported via the Red Sea terminal at Eilat since 2020, while flows into Haifa have averaged around 40,000 barrels per day.
Interestingly, Middle East producers have played a minor role in Israel’s crude oil supplies. Notably, Iran, a prominent regional player, has had no presence in Israel’s oil market. This distinctive oil supply landscape underscores Israel’s adaptability and resilience in ensuring its energy security, even in the face of shifting geopolitical dynamics.