Leviathan gas platform’s final test ends successfully

“As we expected, there was no change in routine benzene concentrations,” the ministry said in a statement.

Bini Zomer at the beach opposite Leviathan on December 31, 2019 (photo credit: RA’ANAN COHEN)
Bini Zomer at the beach opposite Leviathan on December 31, 2019
(photo credit: RA’ANAN COHEN)
The final stage of testing at the Leviathan natural-gas platform on Tuesday morning ended successfully. Despite public concerns about pollutants that were expected to be emitted, the Environmental Protection Ministry made it clear that at the end of operations no deviations in air-pollution data were recorded.
“As we expected, there was no change in routine benzene concentrations,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that Noble Energy, the operator of the Leviathan gas platform, Delek Drilling and Ratio had met all required conditions.
Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin said most of the gas used in Israel is from the Leviathan gas field, “a huge achievement for the State of Israel” and also “an environmental milestone” in the country’s transition from coal to natural gas.
“This is an historic day for Noble [Energy] and for the State of Israel,” said Bini Zomer, Noble’s vice president for regional affairs. “With the flow of gas from Leviathan, Israel has achieved a level of energy security that, only a few short years ago, would have been unimaginable.”
“The natural gas from Leviathan will improve Israel’s air quality by displacing coal for electricity production, will provide cost saving and much needed government revenues and, with exports to neighboring countries, will lead to unprecedented commercial ties with countries in the region,” he said.
“We are proud of our commitment to the people of Israel and look forward to bringing the benefits of our development to the people of the region,” Zomer said.
The Leviathan wells are located 130 kilometers west of Haifa.
Residents who live close to the beach had begun evacuating their homes, believing it would significantly increase air pollution along the nearby coastline. The project partners emphasized on Friday “activities carried out on the platform do not impact routine life.”

Residents protest the operation of the Leviathan natural gas field (Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv)Residents protest the operation of the Leviathan natural gas field (Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv)

“We recommend that the public download the application ‘SvivaAIR’ and to update in real time on the results of monitoring stations that show the status of air quality in the area,” the ministry recommended.
The final test, during which pipes filled with natural gas leading from the gas reservoir to the platform, began at approximately 7 a.m. and lasted eight hours.
During the procedure, gas flowed for the first time from the wells through two 120-km.-long nitrogen-filled pipes to the platform, 10 km. off the shore. The test finished when nitrogen levels in the pipes decreased to a predetermined level. According to the Leviathan project partners, additional emissions from the platform during the test were “minimal” and did not exceed 0.135 micrograms per cubic meter air.
Leviathan natural-gas exports to neighboring countries are expected to begin in the coming weeks.
The Leviathan reservoir, one of the largest natural-gas fields discovered worldwide in the last decade, is thought to contain up to 605 billion cu. m. (bcm) of natural gas, equivalent to 65 years of domestic gas consumption. Following the conclusion of commissioning tests, the platform is due to pump gas to Israel’s domestic market, as well as to Egypt and Jordan.
In February 2018, Delek and Noble Energy signed a $15 billion decade-long deal to supply 64 bcm of natural gas to Egypt from Leviathan and the Tamar gas field, already in operation since 2013.
The deal follows a September 2016 agreement worth $10b. between Jordan’s National Electric Power Company Ltd. and the Leviathan project partners to supply a gross quantity of 45 bcm of natural gas to Israel’s eastern neighbor over a 15-year period.