Natural gas officials accused of lapses in safety

State Comptroller Shapira says no database to display records of safety incidents and proper risk surveys not conducted.

Turgeman, Landau, Glickman tour worksite 370 (photo credit: Amihai Zlotnik)
Turgeman, Landau, Glickman tour worksite 370
(photo credit: Amihai Zlotnik)
Those responsible for the country’s natural gas receipt and transmission, particularly Israel Natural Gas Lines (INGL) have failed to take proper safety measures to ensure the efficacy of the system, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira said in his latest report.
While the Natural Gas Authority in the Energy and Water Ministry oversees natural gas transmission licenses, the INGL has administered the country’s transmission system since 2003. As of November 2011, when the system received its last audit, there was no database to display records of safety incidents and proper risk surveys had not been conducted. Meanwhile, the State Comptroller’s Office found that the Natural Gas Authority does not always receive immediate reports from INGL about system malfunctions or disruptions of gas supply.
In addition, some of the permits granted by the Natural Gas Authority have expired, and some of the authorizations that INGL holds are not valid, according to Shapira. For example, the sea line of the transmission system, established by IEC in 2004 and transferred to INGL for operation in 2006 and 2007, has been operating without a proper business license.
“[INGL] has not learned lessons from safety incidents that the State Comptroller’s Office has examined, and it must act to prevent gas malfunctions,” the state comptroller wrote.
Aside from lacking proper safety protocols, INGL has engaged in some transactions that fail to play by the rules, according to Shapira.
In 2010, the INGL Tenders Committee approved contracts with suppliers amounting to NIS 160 million, but it also carried out many transactions that either had not been brought before the Tenders Committee at all, or were only approved retroactively, the State Comptroller said.
In response, a statement from INGL said that the company is carefully evaluating the report, but stressed that the firm has is already implementing the latest recommendations. It stressed that in only eight years of operation it has already established about 450 km. of transmission systems for the country’s natural gas, and is also in the midst of the marine buoy Liquefied Natural Gas project. The establishment of such a transmission system is quite complex, and the system complies with the most stringent international safety and environmental standards, with 99.9 percent reliability of supply, according to the INGL statement.
“If in accordance with and during this praiseworthy and intensive work, a number of deficiencies were found that have not yet been corrected, the company will act to repair them,” the statement said.