Natural gas from the Tamar field began flowing today bringing to an end two years in which Israel has had a dearth of natural gas. The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources announced today that the first supplies of the natural gas should reach Israel's shores on Sunday after undergoing a journey of nearly 200 kilometers of pipelines. At first the supply of Tamar gas will only be partial but there should be full capacity flowing within a few weeks, energy sector sources believe. The field, which was discovered in 2009, has an estimated 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Minister of Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom said on Saturday that this was a "historic moment" and as Israel celebrated Passover, the holiday of freedom, it was also celebrating achieving energy independence.
Although the Tamar field is offshore from Haifa, the gas will flow south through pipes 160 kilometers long before travelling in 24 kilometers more of pipes to come onshore at Ashdod through the existing infrastructure for the Yam Tethys field. In 2010, Israel's planning committee nixed plans to build a northern gas terminal due to opposition from environmentalist groups.
Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) owns 31.35% of Tamar through subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L) and Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L); Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) owns 36%, Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L) owns 28.7%, and Alon Natural Gas Exploration Ltd. (TASE: ALGS) owns 4%.
Noble Energy CEO Charles Davidson said, "I congratulate Israelis. The gas production is a great achievement that will reduce the country’s dependency on energy imports and will move the country significantly closer to energy independence."
Since 2011 when gas stopped flowing from Egypt, the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) has been forced to buy more expensive and more polluting diesel and heavy industrial fuel. This cost the IEC an extra NIS 8.5 billion in 2012 alone.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 30, 2013
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013