The Energy Ministry ordered gas production to be limited from the offshore Leviathan platform on Thursday, after a malfunction was discovered in a pipeline leading to the reservoir wells.The malfunction was discovered during the current pilot period of the natural gas project, which started production on January 6, in a section of the pipeline located near the reservoir production wells – also known as jumpers. A vibration was detected in the pipeline by an underwater robot lowered into the sea. To minimize vibrations, the Energy Ministry instructed platform operator Noble Energy to reduce the quantity of gas extracted from the wells by approximately 40% of total output. The quantity will only be increased by the ministry after required tests are completed successfully.In a statement, the Energy Ministry emphasized there had been no leakage of materials into the seawater nor damage to the platform or associated facilities.There is no connection, the ministry said, between the malfunction and another one that was identified on Tuesday morning, when a power outage and fault halted operations for several hours.The malfunction required all natural gas to be emptied from the platform, burning it off via the platform’s flare boom to prevent the emission of gas into the air.Responding to the Energy Ministry, Noble Energy released the following statement: "Noble Energy and the partners in the Leviathan project contacted the MOE this evening in order to understand the meaning of the statement put out by the ministry."The issue that is described by the MOE as a 'malfunction' is nothing of the sort. Rather, it is consistent with issues common during the initial production phase of a development of this type. It should be emphasized that since production began from Leviathan, gas has been and is being delivered to customers in Israel and the region in accordance with the respective contracts. Noble Energy is delivering gas from Tamar and Leviathan at record rates."We are working and will continue to work with the MOE and the other relevant ministries. It is emphasized that the issue described in the MOE announcement has not had any environmental impact and Noble continues to supply natural gas to the domestic and regional markets with the highest safety and environmental standards. We will continue to evaluate performance of the platform, subsea infrastructure and wells and make adjustments as needed."