Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards held a series of meetings with officials of energy companies operating in Israel, to explore opportunities for Louisiana companies to tap into expanding exploration and production fields in Israeli’s energy industry. The meetings occurred on the final full day of the governor’s weeklong economic development mission to Israel.   

“From the outset, my goal for this economic development mission has been to explore trade, investment and partnership prospects between the State of Louisiana and Israel,” Gov. Edwards said. “One of the key areas for us is our energy sector. Louisiana is an energy state and a global leader in oil and gas exploration and production. We have a long-established track record of exporting our technology and expertise to international oil and gas markets. We are encouraged that there could be opportunities based in Israel for Louisiana companies, and companies with ties to Louisiana, to find opportunities there to invest, generate new revenue and create good jobs through growth.”

Louisiana industry and government leaders joined the governor to meet Thursday with Bini Zimer, manager of Israel operations for Noble Energy. The Houston-based oil and gas exploration and production company has extensive operations off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea. Gov. Edwards led discussions with the company about ways to involve Louisiana companies in Noble Energy’s supply chain, and other possible opportunities for the company to partner with Louisiana interests.

Gov. Edwards and the Louisiana delegation met separately with CEO Yossi Abu of Delek Drilling, Israel’s leading energy partnership in the exploration, production and sale of natural gas. Since the Israeli government relinquished state involvement in oil and gas exploration and turned that activity over to the private sector, Delek Drilling has been heavily involved in natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea off Israel’s coast. Noble Energy and Delek Drilling earlier this year reached an agreement to supply natural gas to Egypt from gas fields offshore from Israel.

Louisiana ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for energy consumption per capita and No. 4 for energy expenditures per capita, with 20 percent of U.S. crude-oil refining capacity – or 3.3 million barrels per day – furnished by Louisiana’s 18 refineries. In Israel, Noble Energy’s development of the Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean paves the way for further growth of the nation’s gas-based electricity grid, along with development of gas-based industrial and public transportation sectors.

“In our ongoing mission to cultivate jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana, we have focused on energy as one of our key sectors for continued economic growth,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “Companies such as Noble Energy and Delek Drilling are leading the way in offshore exploration and production in Israel, and we are exploring what role Louisiana companies might play in that region. Today’s discussions were an encouraging start to what we hope will lead to meaningful partnerships in the energy sector between Louisiana and Israel.”

Another meeting involved the governor and his team with officials of Delek US, which owns and operates an oil refinery in Krotz Springs, Louisiana. Louisiana officials thanked Delek US representatives for the economic benefits derived from the company’s Louisiana refinery, which has a capacity of 74,000 barrels per day. The discussion also addressed how the company’s operations in Louisiana might be supported for future growth.

Louisiana officials, business leaders and researchers in key industries have been meeting all week with key Israeli government and industry leaders in cybersecurity, logistics, energy, higher education and water management. Gov. Edwards organized the economic development mission in partnership with the National Governors Association after an invitation was extended to the governor by Consul General Gilad Katz, who represents Israel in the Southwest United States.

On the final day of meetings, Gov. Edwards and the delegation met with Twistlock co-founder and Vice President of Research and Development Dima Stopel, Vice President of Finance Pini Karuchi, and Chief Technology Officer John Morello from Baton Rouge. The company, which has operations in Israel and Baton Rouge, provides automated and scalable cybersecurity platforms for cloud-based computing systems to some of the world’s largest companies and has an office at the LSU Innovation Park.  Twistlock currently has 8 employees in Louisiana with plans to have 12 employees on staff by January 2019.  The company is expected to employ more than 20 people by 2021 in the technology sector. 

Gov. Edwards departs Israel tonight and will travel overnight to return to Louisiana.