Technical problem causes natural gas supply cut off

With no gas flowing from Egypt, Gilad Erdan was forced to approve Israel Electric Corporation's use of polluting fuel, diesel oil.

March 5, 2011 19:08
1 minute read.
Flames from February attack on Sinai gas pipeline

Egypt gas pipeline blast 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israel's supply of natural gas was cut off on Saturday because of a technical problem at the Tethys Sea consortium gas terminal in Ashkelon.

Israel's other source of gas, through the Sinai pipeline from Egypt, has been cut off since an explosion occurred, prompting authorities to stop the flow of gas to Israel last month.

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The first direct effects of the Egyptian upheaval on Israel were avoided Thursday after the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) asked for and received permission from Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan to run their turbines on polluting fuel and diesel oil on Saturday instead of natural gas.

A few months ago, Erdan issued orders preventing the IEC from burning the more highly polluting fuels without his express permission.

The IEC was concerned it would not be able to meet demand over the weekend because the supply of natural gas from Egypt had yet to resume, and the domestic supply was going to be temporarily disrupted.

Noble Energy, which operates the Mari-B field that produces the other half of the gas to run some 40% of the IEC’s production capacity, has been begging for the last four weeks for a 12- hour hiatus from supplying gas to replace a pump. Although the IEC had been postponing granting permission in the hopes that the Egyptian gas would resume, it decided it could no longer put off the repairs, lest the capacity to meet demand over the summer be compromised, the electric company said Thursday.

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