As the residents of Emek Hefer await the construction of a natural gas
absorption terminal in their midst, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau met
with them on Thursday to ensure that the facility will not be the disturbance
that so many of them fear.
Along with ministry director- general Shaul
Zemach, Landau met in his Tel Aviv office with Emek Hefer Regional Council head
Rani Eden and a group of residents to discuss the details of the gas
transmission project. Creating another absorption terminal on Israel’s shores
will be crucial to the country’s energy market, industrial development and
environmental protection, Landau told the group.
“Israel produces about
40 percent of its electricity using natural gas,” Landau
“Currently, in light of the cessation of the supply from Egypt, all
this gas comes from one terminal only, which is located in Ashdod. The country
cannot be dependent on one pipeline alone.”
Assuring the group that the
ministry had worked with a professional team of international experts to
generate this plan, Landau stressed the critical nature of acting with full
transparency toward the public along the way. After researching several
different possibilities, the experts presented the alternatives to the National
Council for Planning and Building, which ultimately identified the Emek Hefer
point as most favorable.
“We see the establishment of two natural gas
absorption points in the North as a strategic need for the country,” Landau
Addressing a question regarding the possibility of establishing an
absorption terminal in the sea rather than on land, the minister said that his
office sees strategic importance in promoting facilities in both places – but
with a priority on land.
“Nevertheless, for the energy security of
Israeli citizens, there is a clear preference for natural gas facilities on
land, because on-land facilities allow for repairing glitches and accidents and
more efficient maintenance and operation, in a much shorter time frame,” Landau
Problems found in marine terminals can often take weeks or
months to repair, and disable the entire supply system in the meantime, he
“This is a situation that the country simply cannot afford,”
Stressing the importance of continuing to involve the public
in every step of the absorption terminal planning process, Landau pledged to
continue keeping the residents aware of all the details going
“It is essential to see that the natural gas transmission
project advances and progresses, but no less important that the Emek Hefer
residents do not fear it,” Landau said.
Hanna Kuperman, the head of the
Israeli Forum for Coastal Preservation, expressed concern in response to
While the government has decided to prioritize land
transmission, the sea absorption technology has been operating around the world
since the 1970s, she told The Jerusalem Post.
The National Council for
Planning and Building pledged two-and-a-half years ago to evaluate this option
and has failed to do so, she added.
Acknowledging that the ministry has
been explaining most elements of the plan to the public, Kuperman noted that
many details have remained secret – including the recent gathering. The
residents who met with Landau and Zemach on Thursday were all involved with
local politics of some sort, and not “simple residents,” she
“The technological plan that the government offers is going to
ruin many beaches because they are going to put a huge platform, a huge
unbelievable platform,” Kuperman said.