Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed a “tremendous revolution” in the country’s energy independence on Thursday as he marked the arrival of the foundations, also known as jackets, of Noble Energy’s offshore Leviathan gas platform.
The enormous metal structure was lowered into the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday and will be fixed to the seabed by a crane vessel in the coming weeks, approximately 10 km. from Israel’s coast. The process is expected to take three weeks.
“The completion of the Leviathan offshore platform and the flow of gas from this field later this year is a critical element in the strategic power of Israel,” said Netanyahu, who was accompanied by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and Noble Energy vice-president George M. Hatfield during his visit to the site of the future gas rig.
“From here, there will be a gas pipeline connecting us to the European gas market and also to our Arab neighbors. But, first and foremost, it will give clean gas to Israeli citizens. This is a tremendous revolution, and Israel is becoming an energy power, not dependent on anyone for its energy needs.”
A 180-meter-long barge transporting the foundations from Texas arrived in Israel over the weekend, after an 11,000-km. journey taking 28 days. The foundations are 98 meters tall, and weigh approximately 15,500 tons.
The topsides or upper half of the platform is expected to arrive in Israel in the second half of 2019, and will be installed on top of the foundations. A series of trial tests will be carried out before the platform commences delivering gas to the domestic market at the end of the year.
“The process that commenced approximately three years ago with the gas deal has led to the development of the Leviathan gas field, which will transform the Israeli economy for decades to come,” said Steinitz.
“It will bring in billions of shekels for the state and its citizens and, most importantly, will enable the State of Israel to get rid of polluting coal and to shut down the power plants in Hadera and Ashkelon.
Opposition leader MK Shelly Yachimovich, however, dismissed the celebrations.
“The absurd celebrations of Netanyahu and Steinitz on the occasion of the arrival of half a gas rig for Israel will not cover up the exploitation of the public through scandalous gas prices at the Tamar [gas field],” said Yachimovich.
“[Neither will] the total lack of energy security due to the reckless exemption that was given to [Yitzhak] Tshuva and his monopoly for constructing a second pipeline to the shore.”
Once complete, the Leviathan platform is expected to extract up to 605 billion cubic meters of natural gas, equivalent to 65 years of gas consumption in Israel.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>