Zion Oil and Gas is a hydrocarbon exploration company based in Dallas and the proud owners of three license blocks in northern Israel. The company is distinguished by being faith-based, and by working under the conviction that it is going to discover one of the largest oil fields in the Middle East based solely on its founder John Brown’s impressively strained readings of Bible verses (more details here), and presumably partially on indignation over the apparent injustice that those evil Muslims got all the oil in the area and the good state of Israel got none. The aim is to make Israel self-sufficient with oil for the next few decades until the Rapture solves the situation for good. In Brown’s words:
“Following continued assessment of all geological and geophysical data, renowned petroleum engineers, geologists and geophysicists continue to ask ... ‘where is the most logical place to drill where we can be sure of ‘tapping’ those vast reservoirs of oil?’ Yet, there is an ‘ANSWER’, and it is found in the most ‘overlooked’ source of geological information available to mankind today ... the Bible! The archaeologists have found the Bible to be their unerring guide to hidden treasures [I cannot interpret this as anything but a reference to Ron Wyatt] ... Why cannot the geologists utilize the same ‘tool’ to find this oil?”
So it seems to be that Brown noticed on a 1973 map of the 12 tribes of Israel that Asher’s Land of the Bible looked like a foot, which is surely a clue: “And of Asher he said, Be Asher blessed above sons; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him DIP HIS FOOT IN OIL. (Deuteronomy 33:24).” And heck: secular oil companies look for oil based on methods that assume an unbiblically old Earth, don’t they? No wonder they can’t find oil in Israel.
Although the plan is so beyond ridiculous that it beggars even hardened loon researchers’ beliefs, they’ve kept it going for some 14 years, largely due to heavy promotion by fundamentalist newsletters such as the WND and people like Hal Lindsey, who told his viewers in 2007 that “Zion Oil right now is on the verge of discovering oil... [a sign that] we are really on the very threshold of Lord Jesus' return,” and deliberately lied about their prospects (Lindsey had 725,000 shares in the company, the value of which rose significantly after the announcement).
Needless to say, they have yet to hit the jackpot. Lately, they appear to have abandoned the Biblical maps and gone for pure geology with bids for acreage around the Dead Sea where there are known asphalt seeps – currently several board members are actually qualified geologists or have worked in senior positions for major oil companies. It hasn’t helped much.
It is also worth mentioning that some investors have accused Brown of fraud. In particular, according to Yousef Yomtov, a.k.a. Yosalov, Brown believes that “the oil will only flow when a super spiritual person known as Joseph comes into his life,” and the complaint is based on Yomtov’s conviction that he is that “super spiritual person”, yet Brown has thus far refused to meet with him. Yomtov also points out that by January 2009 Zion announced that they had issued “approximately 666,000 warrants with a $7.00 exercise price,” which cannot be a coincidence but rather proof of “a deliberate poisoning of the company from within and an indication to investors who seek God’s will that there is something ugly about Zion Oil and Gas.”
Diagnosis: Nothing short of remarkable. I don’t really have the words for this.