In accordance with Israel’s Petroleum Law (1952), the Ministry of Infrastructure granted Israel Energy Initiatives Ltd (IEI) a license to carry out the following two actions:
- To conduct a geological survey of the oil shale deposit deep underground, in order to select the area from which shale oil would later be produced.
- To construct an experimental facility (i.e., a pilot) for heating the shale and extracting oil from it.
Oil shale, also referred to as bituminous rock, consists of sedimentary rocks rich in organic matter. These rocks can produce energy when mined and burned in a special oven, and liquid fuel can likewise be obtained from the quarried rock. It is also possible to make use of the shale deposit in situ, without mining, by heating it underground. The fuel thus produced has qualities similar to those of the refined products of crude oil.
The area specified for the survey and the establishment of the experimental facility covers an area of some 238 square kilometers between Nahal HaElah in the north and Nahal Adorayim in the south, and between Route no. 6 to the west and Moshav Aderet to the east. The area of the license encompasses both the Adullam and Lachish regions.