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Minister: PA may drill for oil in West Bank

April 20, 2012 1:27 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2012 1:04 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A team of experts is researching the possibility of drilling for oil in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority minister of state said Friday.

Mahir Ghneim told Ma'an that international and local experts started research months ago in Ramallah and southern Hebron and found an oil field in the village of Rantis, west of Ramallah.

"We are waiting for what the experts will say about that oil field before we prepare for possible drilling in future," Ghneim said.

The Palestinian Authority hopes a database compiled by the researchers will help its efforts to claim natural resources including petroleum, water and stone in areas of the occupied West Bank under Israeli control, Ghneim said.

When the West Bank was under Jordanian control, drilling took place in Bir Zeit, near Ramallah, and in as-Samu, south of Hebron. The results were not encouraging because of the low price of oil at the time, but extracting oil is easier now, the minister said.

A committee is also investigating an oil and natural gas field discovered in 2008 between Qalqiliya and Latrun which Israel is keeping quiet about, the minister said.

"Israel is not revealing information about that oil and natural gas field Meged 5 which was discovered in 2008, but we appointed a committee of experts to explore and investigate that field located between Qalqiliya and Latrun."
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