Israel started pumping its first offshore natural gas in a move it hopes will help boost the nation’s economy and increase energy security.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, gas started flowing in from the Tamar offshore field into the Israeli port of Ashdod. The project is believed to be the largest privately funded infrastructure project in the nation, costing around $3 billion (£2bn).
The field is estimated to hold nine trillion cubic feet of natural gas, a discovery made by US firm Noble Energy, which partly owns and operates it. Reports claim the Government expects to save around one billion shekels (£182 million) a month from the gas production.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement: “We are taking an important step toward energy independence. We have advanced the natural gas sector in Israel over the last decade, which will be good for the Israeli economy and for all Israelis.”
According to Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, the Tamar field is expected to supply around 50-80% of the country’s natural gas needs over the next 10 years.