By Amit Acco, Partner

Israel has discovered significant natural gas reserves near its shores in recent years. The largest of these discoveries is the Leviathan gas field, located approximately 130 kilometers west of the northern Israeli port city of Haifa in the Mediterranean Sea. The Leviathan field contains an estimated 22 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, making it one of the largest offshore gas fields in the world.

Another major gas field is the Tamar field, located approximately 90 kilometers west of Haifa. The Tamar field contains an estimated 10 tcf of natural gas.

The development of these gas reserves has been a significant economic and strategic boon for Israel, which previously relied heavily on imported energy. The gas reserves have the potential to provide energy security and generate significant revenues for the country.

Is There a Need for a Work Visa?

Under Israeli law, any individual who wishes to work in the offshore territorial zone is required to obtain a B-1 work visa prior to entering Israel. Failure to obtain this visa may result in a denial of entry upon arrival. As such, it is strongly recommended that individuals take into consideration the location of the rig and the nature of their work before deciding whether or not to obtain a work visa.

Under Israeli law, the offshore territorial zone refers specifically to the area beyond the country’s territorial waters, which extends 12 nautical miles from the coast. 12 nautical miles (nm) is equal to approximately 22.2 kilometers (km). Any work conducted in this area requires a B-1 work visa, as previously mentioned.

Diagram of shore and ocean overlaid with territorial sea, Exclusive Economic Zone, and High Sea
Source: GIS Public Domain. The organization was founded in 2011 by H.S.H. Prince Michael of Liechtenstein to provide business leaders, senior managers, and policymakers with genuine and relevant, scenario-based geopolitical economic and other relevant forecasts to inform their strategic decision-making. It is not a journalistic or media product but provides intelligence.

Furthermore, it is important to note that if a company wishes to seek tax deductions related to employee salaries, a valid work visa for foreign experts is required. It is not possible to apply retroactively for such permits, so it is crucial to ensure that all employees have obtained the necessary documentation prior to commencing work in the offshore territorial zone.

In light of these legal requirements, it is essential that individuals and companies carefully consider their obligations under Israeli law when engaging in work in the offshore territorial zone. Failure to do so may result in significant legal consequences and should be avoided at all costs.

Entering offshore areas outside the territorial zone of Israel through Ben Gurion airport can often result in confusion, delays, and even entry denials. To minimize these risks, Kan-Tor & Acco recommends that employees are provided with an introduction letter from our office to border control for each case. This letter will specify crucial information, including the location of the work, methods of transportation to the rig, and other relevant details. This will help facilitate a smoother and more efficient entry process for employees working in offshore operations.

If you have any questions or concerns about obtaining a B-1 work visa or complying with other legal requirements related to working in the offshore territorial zone, it is strongly recommended that you seek our advice upon planning the works.

About Kan-Tor & Acco Off-Shore Works Legal Services

Kan-Tor & Acco is a leading law firm in Israel with extensive experience in providing legal services to offshore rigs. The firm has advised clients in a variety of offshore operations, including:

  1. Oil and gas exploration and production: Kan-Tor & Acco has advised clients on various aspects of oil and gas exploration and production, including negotiating drilling contracts, obtaining necessary permits and licenses, and complying with environmental regulations.
  2. Offshore construction and installation: The firm has advised clients on the legal and regulatory requirements for offshore construction and installation projects, including negotiating contracts and resolving disputes.
  3. Offshore wind energy: Kan-Tor & Acco has provided legal services to clients in the emerging offshore wind energy sector, including advising on regulatory and environmental requirements, negotiating contracts, and managing project financing.
  4. Offshore transportation and logistics: The firm has advised clients on legal and regulatory issues related to offshore transportation and logistics, including vessel charters, customs and immigration compliance, and insurance coverage.

Overall, Kan-Tor & Acco has a strong track record of providing high-quality legal s0ervices to clients in the offshore industry, and the firm’s experienced team of attorneys is well-equipped to handle a wide range of legal issues that may arise in offshore operations.

Kan-Tor & Acco Off-Shore Legal Team

The Off-shore legal team at Kan-Tor & Acco is led by Partner Tsvi Kan-Tor, who brings a unique perspective to the firm’s practice in offshore legal matters as a former Marine Captain. Mr. Kan-Tor’s extensive experience in maritime operations and management has proven to be a valuable asset to the firm and its clients.

With Mr. Kan-Tor at the helm, the Off-shore legal team has been able to provide clients with a comprehensive range of legal services in offshore matters, including contract negotiation, regulatory compliance, dispute resolution, and more. The team’s deep understanding of the offshore industry, combined with their legal expertise, allows them to deliver practical and effective solutions to their clients.

Whether you are involved in oil and gas exploration, offshore construction, renewable energy projects, or any other type of offshore operation, the Off-shore legal team at Kan-Tor & Acco is well-equipped to provide you with the high-quality legal services you need to achieve your goals.