Israel's royalties from natural gas rose to a record 543 million shekels (about 155 million U.S. dollars) in 2013, the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures announced Sunday.
The start of gas production at the Tamar offshore field last March boosted the country's royalties from natural gas by 160 percent in 2013, the ministry said in a statement.
Gas made up 93 percent of all the natural resource royalties of Israel in 2013.
Israel's second major natural resource is phosphates from the Dead Sea, which are mined by Israel Chemicals, the world's sixth- largest potash producer.
Phosphates royalties amounted to about 13 million shekels (or 3. 7 million dollars) in 2013, less than in 2012, due to a drop in global potash prices and the strengthening local shekel.
"Royalties on natural resources are expected to reach 730 million shekels (208 million dollars) in 2014," the Ministry of National Infrastructures forecasted in a statement.
Found in 2009, the Tamar field has an estimated 28.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The Tamar partnership, controlled by Texas-based Noble Energy and Israeli Delek and Avner Oil, has some 6 billion dollars worth of contracts with Israel's national Electrical Company to supply gas for the production of electricity.
Last week, it signed its first export deal to supply gas to Jordanian Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine.
The Israeli government is eager to start gas exports in order to boost economic and diplomatic ties with countries in the region.