(photo credit: Ron Friedman)
Exploiting the fact that all the energy industry bigwigs were under the same
roof, residents from Hof Hacarmel villages repeatedly disrupted the proceedings
of The Marker’s Israel Energy Conference in Ramat Gan on Tuesday to protest the
planned construction of a natural gas processing plant near their
The protesters shouted out slogans and held up signs and banners
as soon as Delek Energy CEO Gideon Tadmor took to the podium to speak about his
company’s drilling activities off the northern coast.
processing plant is meant to process natural gas from the Tamar deep sea
reservoir, which is jointly owned by Delek and American energy giant
An additional 150 residents demonstrated outside the hotel where
the conference took place, holding up banners and handing out bumper
The residents Dor, Nahsholim and Ein Ayala, expressed concerns
that the plant would present a safety and security risk and urged the
regulators to force the companies to place the plant on an offshore
away from people’s homes.
The protesters accused the government of bowing
to pressures from the companies and preferring economic interests over
The natural gas that was found at the Tamar site, 90
kilometers off the coast, in early 2009, is expected to supply Israel’s
gas requirements for 20 years.
National Infrastructures Minister Uzi
Landau chided the protesters for their lack of civility and said that it
to the National Planning and Construction Committee to decide on the
“There are risks no matter where the plant will be. We
recommended to the committee to place it in a place where it will cause
damage to the environment and pose as little a threat as possible to the
residents,” said Landau.
“It is in the national interest for the natural
gas from Tamar to reach Israel by 2013 at the latest and building the
sea would make that impossible.
I would also like to remind people that
even if we do order an offshore barge, there will still be a need for a
land-based receiving station, albeit a smaller one.”
In his speech to the
conference, Landau presented his ministry’s plans for the Israeli energy
stating that natural gas was about to play a big role in Israel’s energy
Looking to the future, he said, his ministry was assembling
a team to look into the introduction of nuclear energy into the local
“We require clean energy.
Israel is a small country and
doesn’t have enough space for solar panel coverage,” he explained.
8,000-watt nuclear power plant is planned to be built near Shivta in the
In the long term there is no escaping the need for building such a
station to satisfy Israel’s growing electricity needs and for it to
happen in 20
years, we have to start acting now,” said Landau.
When eventually allowed
to speak, Tadmor said the protesters suffered from the NIMBY (“Not In My
Yard”) syndrome and had expressed unwillingness to meet with Delek
learn the truth about the proposed plant.
Speaking about the partners’
recent announcement that they had found what potentially might be an
find in a new site called Leviatan, Tadmor said that if their
proved to be correct, “It was not only a macro economic contribution to
economy, but a possibility of changing Israel’s geopolitical
Experts have said that if the new find proves to be as large as
the partners estimate, Israel could become an exporter of natural gas to
Tadmor also addressed recent reports that the state would
change the royalty rates it demanded for the rights to drill for natural
saying that such a move would be unjust towards the people who risked
find the gas.
He warned that if the state goes ahead with this, it would
scare away potential investors in other sectors, too.
“Nobody will invest
in a place that projects inconstancy,” said Tadmor.
Natural Gas Authority
Director- General Shuki Stern said he and his team had done everything
sure that the gas entering Israel would not endanger residents, no
the processing plant will be located.
“We have demanded safety mechanisms
that meet the highest standards,” he said.
“The partners had to change
their plans because of our requirements ,and had to find a solution to
the pressure of gas flowing in the pipes from 450 Bar to 120 Bar. The
not leak pollutants into the air and the soil.”