Offshore Gas Drilling 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After the Yam Tethys conglomerate, which operates the Mari-B natural gas field
off Ashdod, said Saturday that a computer glitch was temporarily preventing the
gas from coming back onstream, Noble energy, a partner in Yam Tethys and the
site’s operator, announced that the glitch had been resolved late Saturday
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The gas supply would resume to all clients before morning, Noble
While Israel had been temporarily left without natural gas, there
was no danger of power outages because the Israel Electric Corporation was able
to run their turbines on fuel and diesel oil instead, even though they are much
more polluting than natural gas.
Noble had asked for and received
permission to stop the supply of gas on Saturday in order to increase the
pressure to be able to produce more gas to meet future needs. While the 12-hour
operation was apparently successful, a computer glitch prevented the immediate
return of service.
Yam Tethys provides 20 percent of the natural gas that
Israel uses to run 40% of its electricity generation capacity. The other 20% had
been provided by the Egyptians through the EMG Company.
The gas supply
from Egypt has been halted since an explosion at a nearby pipeline on February
While one of the investors in EMG had said the gas supply would be
resumed on Friday, they subsequently said it would not be resumed yet, and gave
no future date for its resumption.
National Infrastructures Minister Uzi
Landau commented Saturday night: “First of all, I would like to reiterate and
emphasize that Israel is prepared for any scenario in which the supply of gas is
halted; and, despite largely unforeseen incidents, the steady supply of
electricity has not been compromised.
However, we must remember that
incidents such as these have a price – financial and
Landau, who is in the US at the moment, went on in his
statement to call on the government to approve the dualfuel power plant in
Ashkelon, stop holding up the development of the Tamar gas field, and approve a
northern hook-up for natural gas.
“Those who would prevent the dual fuel
[it would run on natural gas with a backup coal capacity] power plant get power
plants running on even more polluting and expensive fuel and diesel oil
instead,” he charged.
To ensure safety of supply, Landau also called for
a northern station to be built connecting the offshore fields to the natural gas
“We cannot have just one pipe for natural gas,” he
Landau also called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to hold an
urgent meeting to make these “crucial decisions for the energy market.”