After a month-long trip from Texas to Israel, the foundations for the Jacket drilling platform for the Leviathan natural gas reservoir have reached their destination in Israel's territorial waters about 10 kilometers off Israel's shore. A campaign has been waged recently to move the platform further offshore on grounds of alleged environmental damage.
The foundation legs will be placed on the sea bottom in the next week and set in place with huge stakes. Underwater specialists will use a crane ship and other vessels in the work.
Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Dr. Yuval Steinitz says that the arrival of the Leviathan platform base marks "the beginning of the last stage in development of the reservoir, the largest natural resource ever discovered in Israel.
"This is cause for celebration in Israel, because development of Leviathan, slated for completion in a few months, will make a huge contribution to Israel for decades; put billions into the state treasury for education, health, and welfare; make it possible to close down the coal-fired power plants in Hadera and Ashkelon; ensure cleaner air for the coming generations; and serve as a critical tool through exporting some of the gas to Egypt, Jordan, and Europe," Steinitz asserted.
The Leviathan partners said that the Leviathan project was advancing as planned and on schedule. The entire project will be completed by the end of 2019, and gas will begin flowing to the Israeli economy and Jordan and Egypt, with whom Israel signed export agreements. Steinitz says that this "will strengthen Israel's status in the region and enable all of us to breath cleaner and healthier air."
The platform legs were put on a 180-meter barge, which crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 28 days, traveling a distance of 11,500 kilometers. The platform legs, which took 18 months to build, are 98 meters high and weigh 15,500 tons. They will be placed 10 kilometers from Israel's share at a depth of 86 meters by a special sea crane used in large-scale marine projects.
The legs are the first part of the platform to arrive in Israel. The upper (topside) part of the platform, which will arrive in the coming months, will contain the platform facilities and residences of the work team. After construction is completed, a series of running-in tests will be conducted, following which the gas will begin to flow in late 2019.
The Leviathan reservoir, located 125 kilometers west of Haifa, was discovered in December 2010 by a partnership of Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L). It was recognized as one of the largest natural gas discoveries in the world in the previous decade. Investment in the first stage of the project amounts to $3.75 billion.
Stage 1A of Leviathan includes difficult undersea development from four production drillings at an average depth of five kilometers below the sea. Each drilling has a daily production capacity of 300 MMcf of natural gas. Annual production capacity is slated to amount to 12 BCM.
The gas from the reservoir will be piped through two 130-kilometer undersea pipelines leading directly from the offshore platform. All treatment of the gas will take place at sea. The treated gas and the condensate produced will be piped from the platform to the shore through a pipeline connected to the transportation system of the Israel National Gas Lines Company and to the national fuel transportation system of Eilat Asheklon Pipeline Co. (EAPC), as stipulated in the National Outline Plan.
Gas from Leviathan will enable electricity producers and industrial plants to reduce their use of polluting fuel, reduce energy costs, and cut down on air pollution. Beyond its many environmental, security, and economic benefits, exports of gas from Leviathan to Egypt and Jordan make Israel an important gas exporter and reinforce its relations in the region.
Last Wednesday, a hearing took place in the Haifa District Court on a petition for a restraining order filed by the Homeland Guards organization and the local authorities in the vicinity of the Dor coast aimed at preventing next week's arrival of the Leviathan platform in Israel and its subsequent installation. Judge Ron Sokol dismissed the petition against allowing the platform to enter Israel. He also ruled against delaying work on constructing and installing the platform, but noted that a final ruling in the matter would be rendered in the coming days. Representing Noble Energy in the petition were Adv. Yonatan Kehat and Adv. Hanan Cidor from the Agmon & Co. Rosenberg Hacohen & Co. law firm.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 27, 2019
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