Egypt gas pipeline blast 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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
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A few months ago, Erdan issued orders preventing the IEC from
burning the more highly polluting fuels without his express
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.
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
According to a notice posted last week, EMG’s Egyptian gas
supply to Israel is set to resume on Friday. However, a target date for
resumption in mid-February was already missed.
On Thursday night, Erdan
issued a one-time permit to burn the much more highly polluting fuel and diesel
oils for 12 hours on Saturday, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., to enable Noble to replace
Nevertheless, he took the opportunity to remind the IEC that
the days of burning fuel and diesel oil were essentially over.
which for years was accustomed to burning polluting fuels when there were
malfunctions, without addressing the environmental and health consequences, must
understand that the rules of the game have changed, and I have no intention of
giving them a blank check to pollute just because it’s cheaper,” he said in a
“The Environmental Protection Ministry will continue to
examine each request thoroughly, with the public interest in mind and not just
the financial considerations that guide the IEC,” he continued.
result of the limits we have placed on the IEC over the last month, since the
gas stopped coming from Egypt, the excessive use of power stations running on
fuel oil, like those in Ashdod, have been prevented.”
Only when there was
absolutely no alternative would the ministry grant a temporary permit for a
specified amount of time, as was the case this weekend, he said.
Chairman of the Board Yiftah Ron-Tal responded to the granting of the
“We are pleased that the environmental protection minister has
acted responsibly with an awareness of the national significance of these
instances to enable the IEC to meet its obligation to supply an essential
service to the country’s citizens,” he said in a statement.
IEC CEO Amos
Lasker confirmed that with the permit, the utility would be able to meet demand
this weekend, and there was no longer a likelihood of power outages.