tamar offshore gas field_311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
An Electricity Authority plenum has approved the request of the Israel Electric Corporation to temporarily lease a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) buoy and gasification vessel, in an effort to help bridge the gaps likely to occur between the depletion of Israel’s current Mari-B Yam Tethys gas supply and the development of the new Tamar gas reserves, the Public Utility Authority announced on Wednesday morning.
The Yam Tethys supply is expected to be consumed sometime in 2012, while Tamar will probably only come on board during the second half of 2012, the PUA said in a statement.
Experts in the past have similarly predicted to The Jerusalem Post
that Tamar would be ready sometime between 2012 and 2013.
“This means that in 2013, a natural gas shortage is expected that will bring in the use of alternative fuels which are more polluting and expensive,” the statement said, citing sources like fuel oil and diesel as possible – and unattractive – alternatives.
“According to the Natural Gas Authority, the only way to alleviate a
portion of the 2013 natural gas shortage will be a technology that
employs a buoy and gasification vessel, whose activity is expected to
begin in the first quarter of 2013,” the statement said.
The buoy will provide 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and the
ship will likely be available for use by third parties who can use its
infrastructure by paying a fee to the IEC, the PUA said.
The PUA’s decision follows a similar choice last week in which the
National Infrastructures Ministry instructed Israel Oil Co. and Noble
Energy respectively to begin developing the small Or and Noa natural gas
fields off the coast of Ashkelon, which will in total supply about 2.2
b. cubic meters of natural gas.
While praising the government’s efforts to get started on bringing LNG
to Israel, one expert emphasized his hope that the government would
eventually turn to a more permanent, anchored regasification unit rather
than the temporary buoy solution.
Dr. Amit Mor, CEO and energy specialist at the Eco Energy consulting
firm, has estimated to the Post in the past that it will take less than
two years but approximately $200 million to install such a
semi-permanent system, in which the gas supply could constantly be
replenished by tankers.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” he told the Post
“Nevertheless, it is crucial for Israel to have a permanent, floating
storage regasification ship anchored offshore Israel to serve as a
backup to the shortage in the gas supply, and for commercial
utilization. We need the government to go ahead and issue a tender for
such a project as previously planned.”