Mohammad Mustafa, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, announced that the Palestinian Government is requesting proposals from interested firms to explore and develop oil in the West Bank. The License Area extends over 432 Km2 from north of the city of Qalqilya to the west of Ramallah as shown in the attached map.The tender documents were prepared under the supervision of a special Ministerial Committee headed by Mustafa and with the aid of international expert firms such as Exploration Reservoir Consultants Ltd. "ERCL", who specializes in consultancy for oil exploration, and the international law firm Ashurst, one of the world's leading firms in oil and gas law.Initial studies have indicated that the license area may hold oil reserves ranging between 30 million and 186 million barrels.The tender is available for public bidding, and will be open to bids for a period ending June 30th 2014, after which all the bids will be evaluated by the Ministerial Committee with the aid of a technical committee that will be formed for that purpose, and with the assistance of the international consultants who helped in preparing for the tender. Bids are to be submitted to the ministerial committee, whose address –as well as more detailed information regarding the project and application procedures- could be found at the project's website: www.palexploration.psThe project as a whole is expected to generate proceeds exceeding one billion USD to the Palestinian Government over the life of the field, including cash inflows in the form of taxes, royalties and other bonuses and payments specified in the model contract for the project.The Palestine Investment Fund ("PIF"), a state-owned sovereign development fund, will participate in the project through entering with the selected bidder into a joint venture (JV) in which the PIF will have an ownership stake subject to bidding (with a minimum value of 25%). The PIF will participate in the JV by providing its share of the JV's capital. Consequently, the PIF will be part of the consortium in charge of developing the project, as is the industry norm for state investment arms in international oil projects."The existence of oil in Palestine is a highly promising opportunity for the Palestinian economy" Mustafa said. He further emphasized the potential for a big shift in the Palestinian economy's trajectory as a result of such a project, which is considered the first of its kind in the country."Having local oil supply will alleviate some of the costs borne by the Palestinian economy on oil imports" Mustafa added.Moreover, Mustafa stressed the fact that "a project of this size and nature will enhance Palestinian utilization of local natural resources, and will be a stepping stone to a multitude of other projects concerning developing available natural resources including those in Al-Aghwar Region, in the Dead Sea, as well as offshore Gaza, thus, further liberating the Palestinian economy from its dependence on imports and laying the foundations for creating a strong independent Palestinian economy."