American Israeli Paper Mills Ltd. on Monday started the conversion of its energy-generation systems from fuel to natural gas at the Hadera paper plant, which will significantly reduce the group's energy and production costs and improve environmental compliance. "The Hadera paper plant is the first industrial plant in Israel to switch to natural gas and we are hopeful that in the future the entire Israeli industry will convert to natural gas," said National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer at the ceremony inaugurating the switch to natural gas on Monday. The transition, which has cost American Israeli Paper Mills NIS 30 million, is expected to add NIS 25m. to the group's annual profits. The controlled flow of natural gas was activated on Monday from the offshore Yam Thetis drill in Ashkelon. The Hadera power plant will also consume natural gas that will be provided by EMG, which supplies natural gas from Egypt to Israel. American Israeli Paper Mills, owned by Clal Industries and Investments, recently signed a 15-year agreement in principle with EMG. The company, which employs 3,000 workers at 20 sites in Israel, invests NIS 100m. each year into the expansion of its local activities.