4 years after natural gas was found, Energy & Water Minister pledges domestic flow of gas will reduce cost of living for general public.
Natural gas flow from the Tamar natural gas field began flowing on Saturday afternoon, Israel Radio reported.
The new Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom visited the Tamar production rig that is located 22 kilometers offshore from Ashdod on Wednesday.
Shalom pledged to improve the quality of life of Israelis as the country’s natural gas begins to flow, stressing that he would use this new influx of gas to reduce the cost of living for the general public.
In January, former energy and water minister Uzi Landau and current Minister of Tourism said “Natural gas is the principle growth engine of the Israeli economy, with an updated forecast of economic growth of more than a full percent thanks to the gas production,” adding, “The people of Israel have discovered in the Mediterranean Sea a treasure full to the brim that will transform electricity to becoming more efficient, cleaner and cheaper.”
Tamar will be coming on line after repeated sabotage that the Egyptian natural gas pipeline suffered following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Before the sabotage, Egypt supplied about 40% of Israel’s natural gas, which was the country’s main energy source.
The 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty stipulated that normal economic relations between the two countries would include the normal commercial sale of oil, later changed to natural gas, from Egypt to Israel.
A natural gas deal was not signed until 2005, and the $460-million pipeline was inaugurated four years later.
The sabotage of the Egyptian pipeline raised concerns in Israel for summer power outages due to energy shortages and a rise in electricity prices. It is hoped by many in Israel that the gas from Tamar will help to stabilize the energy market.
Herb Keinon and Oren Kessler contributed to this report.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Report-Gas-from-Tamar-field-to-come-online-Sunday-308186