Israel shuts down offshore gas field after violence

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Israel has suspended production at the Tamar gas field off its southern coast and will seek alternative fuel sources to meet its needs, the energy ministry said on Monday following three days of violence in the region.

Chevron, which operates the field, confirmed it had been instructed by the ministry to shut down the field, which is a major source of gas to Israel’s power generators and industry.

The move comes after Hamas gunmen burst across the fence from Gaza on Saturday in the deadliest incursion into Israeli territory since Egypt and Syria’s attacks in the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago.

Some of Tamar’s gas is also exported to neighbouring Jordan and Egypt.

“In the wake of the situation, Israel’s defence establishment ordered the temporary suspension of natural gas supplies from the Tamar field,” the energy ministry said in a statement.

“The economy’s energy needs will be supplied by alternative fuels. The power industry is preparing to use alternative fuels to power its stations.”

Tamar is located some 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) off the city of Ashdod along Israel’s southern Mediterranean coast.

The platform, which can be seen from the northern Gaza Strip on a clear day, is within range of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s largest offshore gas field, Leviathan, continues to operate normally, Chevron said.

Israel became a major regional gas supplier with the start of production at the Tamar field a decade ago, which was followed by several other gas developments.

Tamar’s production rose by 18% in 2022 to 10.25 billion cubic metres (bcm), according to government data.

Chevron owns a 25% stake in Tamar, while Isramco holds 28.75%, the United Arab Emirates’ Mubadala Petroleum 22%, Tamar Petroleum 16.75%, Dor Gas 4% and Everest owns 3.5%.