Israel’s Tamar field on the go as natural gas starts to flow
The Tamar reservoir, off the Israeli coast in the Mediterranean Sea, will reportedly help cut in half the cost of electricity. AP photoIsrael began pumping gas March 30 from its offshore Tamar reservoir, an energy field that has been hailed as strategic in a variety of facets for the country.
“This is a very important day for the Israeli economy. We are taking an important step toward energy independence,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement after the announcement that the platform off the Israeli coast in the Mediterranean Sea started pumping natural gas to the port of Ashdod.
The reservoir will help cut in half the cost of electricity, said Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva, the controlling shareholder in the Delek Group, one of the partners in Tamar. “Today [we begin] independence in Israeli natural gas. It is an enormous achievement for the Israeli economy and the start of a new era.”
Peres criticizes decision to start gas flow on a Saturday
Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres also congratulated the team that built the Tamar field, but criticized the move to turn on the pumps on a Saturday, which coincides with the Sabbath.
“I believe it wasn't necessary. As simple as that. I don't know why they did it, it was a mistake,” said Peres. The religiously conservative media have also slammed the timing, arguing that the Sabbath had been “desecrated” by the move.
According to energy experts, the Tamar field will provide Israel with all its natural gas needs for the next 40 years. Israel reportedly plans to export some of the natural gas after 2020.