Natural gas from the offshore Tamar field was pumped to Israeli shores for the first time Saturday, four years after its discovery, in preparation for its first use in the Israeli energy market — a move that could transform the Israeli economy.
On Saturday, hailed an “important day for the Israeli economy” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, natural gas from the field was being pumped to a newly erected facility on the coast of Ashdod, connected to the gas field via pipelines laid out on the ocean floor, 150 kilometers long and 16 inches wide.
Commenting on the historic development, Netanyahu drew a link between the event and the holiday of Passover.
“On the festival of freedom, we are taking an important step toward energy independence. We have advanced the natural gas sector in Israel over the last decade, which will be good for the Israeli economy and for all Israelis,” Netanyahu said.
The gas is to be transferred Sunday from the facility to a processing plant in Ashdod. From there, it will flow into the Israeli market. These newly harnessed resources promise to be a major boon to both the country’s public and private energy needs.
The controlling Tamar shareholder, Yitzhak Tshuva, said Saturday’s start of pumping came “months ahead of schedule.” He said the gas flow “will make Israel energy independent.”
The gas from Tamar is expected to help meet Israel’s energy needs for the next 20 years, Channel 2 said, and will save the economy some NIS 13 billion (some $35 billion) per year. Its ahead-of-schedule use will also save Israeli citizens some cash — lowering a planned rise in electricity costs to 6 percent, less than originally planned.
“This is an ‘energy independence day’ for Israel,” said Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom. “This breakthrough is the harbinger of the foray of additional private companies” into the Israeli energy market, he added.
The Tamar deposit, and especially the heftier Leviathan, which was discovered in 2010, are expected to provide Israel with enough natural gas for decades and transform the country, famously empty of natural resources, into an energy exporter.
Leviathan, which boasts an estimated 16 to 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, is expected to go online in 2016, the approximate time when exports are expected to begin. source - Times Of Israel