Israel Natural Gas Lines (INGL) has completed construction of a marine liquefied natural gas receiving
buoy, from which the flow of gas into Israel’s transmission lines is slated to
begin on Friday.
Energy officials at a launching ceremony on Thursday
hailed the buoy as capable of relieving the country’s gas shortage until the
onset of the Tamar reservoir this April, but also said the facility would remain
a key component to Israel’s energy security future. The buoy, a Submerged Turret
Loading Buoy , will serve as a connection point to the LNG gasification ships,
which will unload natural gas directly to the maritime portion of the national
transmission system at a volume of about 1.5 billion to 2 billion cubic meters
In just its first weeks running, the government expects the
buoy to save the Israeli energy market about NIS 500 million, a number that will
expand to billions of shekels in coming years, according to INGL.
is the final stage for a great beginning in order to secure energy independence
for the first time in Israel,” INGL chairman Ron Haimovsky told The Jerusalem
prior to the launch ceremony at the Hadera Port on Thursday morning. “LNG
will bridge the gap in the period of time between now and Tamar, but in addition
will continue to supply natural gas – which is cleaner and cheaper to
Following a decision to import LNG made by Energy and Water
Minister Uzi Landau 22 months ago, INGL signed a NIS 500m. agreement with the
Italian company MICOPERI in October 2011 for the design, manufacture and
construction of the gas transmission buoy.
After negotiations with the
residents of Hadera, the buoy was situated with their approval 10 kilometers
west of the port. This week, the Israel Electric Corporation employed a leased
gasification ship to conduct final system checks before the regular gas flow was
set to begin on Friday, INGL said.
Since its 2003 beginnings, INGL has
constructed four major transmission sections: sea line (active since May 2006),
central line (May 2007), southern line (November 2009) and northern line (April
2011). In light of Israel’s forthcoming natural gas bloom, the company this year
will be building a line to Jerusalem and an eastern line parallel to the
coastline along Road 6, Haimovsky said.
The LNG project has been launched
in “world-record” time, Haimovsky stressed, a sentiment echoed by Claudio
Bartolotti, deputy managing director at MICOPERI.
All in all, the buoy
stands 10 meters high, with giant anchors 18 meters in length and an 8-meter
pipeline, as well as valves and subsystems, all implemented with 5,000 hours of
scuba diving, according to Haimovsky.
Even when Israel’s own gas from
Tamar is flowing, the buoy will allow for more flexibility and backup during
times of crisis, providing an additional entry point for gas into the country’s
transmission system, explained IEC chairman Yiftach Ron- Tal. “The buoy is only
one milestone in our path toward realizing the vision of 80-20 [80 percent
natural gas] in Israel’s electricity market – a vision that will bring economic
and environmental benefits to Israel’s residents,” he said.
INGL CEO Shmuel Turgeman stressed that the decision to bring in an LNG buoy was
courageous on the part of the Energy and Water Ministry, as this type of buoy
had only been used in three other places around the world.
tomorrow, Israel will be one of the four countries in the world that has a
floating buoy for LNG reception,” Turgeman said, noting that the buoy will be
capable of transferring between 3,000 and 4,000 megawatts of energy per
Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan thanked INGL for its cooperation with his
city’s citizens in determining the exact location and planning of all the
details of the project, stressing that he hoped that gas would “save the Israeli
Emphasizing just how critical both this floating LNG buoy
and Israel’s own natural gas reservoirs will be to the energy economy, Landau
stressed that the new government when formed must immediately implement the
conclusions of the Zemach Committee, and export up to 50 percent of Israel’s own
gas. This call for export at a high level has created a heated argument on the
part of the country’s green activists and the Environmental Protection
“Natural gas is the principle growth engine of the Israeli
economy, with an updated forecast of economic growth of more than a full percent
thanks to the gas production,” Landau said. “The people of Israel have
discovered in the Mediterranean Sea a treasure full to the brim that will
transform electricity to becoming more efficient, cleaner and
Speaking about the Energy and Water Ministry’s constant work to
realize Israel’s natural gas development, the minister noted “it is rare that a
minister is able to see to completion a process that began with
“This is a moment of satisfaction and I draw from it hope – we can
overcome bureaucracy,” Landau stressed.
While praising the current
ministry’s vision of supplying natural gas to every manufacturer as well as
improving relations with Israel’s neighbors through gas trade, Haimovsky assured
the Post that natural gas advancements will continue no matter who the next
energy minister is.
“We are not subject to any minister,” Haimovsky
“There is a vision, a need and basic facts. Working with our
neighbors when it comes to energy and economy is not a luxury – it’s a must.”