Zichron Ya’acov lo­cals march to Jerusalem to protest Noble En­ergy gas rigs

Plat­forms 10 km. from shore­line might threaten health and en­vi­ron­ment, they say

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By MAX SCHINDLER

Dozens of res­i­dents from Zichron Ya’acov in north­ern Is­rael demon­strated in Jerusalem on Mon­day against plans to in­stall nat­u­ral-gas rigs some 10 km. off­shore.

Around 30 cars packed with pro­test­ers as­cended in a snake-like con­voy from La­trun junc­tion to the Knes­set, where a po­lice es­cort waved them past se­cu­rity. Sev­eral mem­bers of the Knes­set ad­dressed the crowd, in­clud­ing MK Yael Co­hen Paran (Zion­ist Union), who is the first-ever MK affiliated with the Green Move­ment, and MK Dov Henin (Joint List).

Em­bla­zoned on the cars were signs demon­strat­ing op­po­si­tion to Noble En­ergy’s planned 120-me­ter-high gas treat­ment plat­forms be­ing in­stalled right off­shore. Some 32 of the gas plat­forms are be­ing pro­posed, and they would stretch from Haifa to Ne­tanya.

Many of the pro­test­ers also ob­ject to an on-shore stor­age and pro­cess­ing plant meant for the toxic con­den­sate, a nat­u­ral gas by-prod­uct, at the Hagit power sta­tion and to a pipe­line through Dor Beach. They fear a pos­si­ble mal­func­tion and ar­gue that com­pa­ra­ble nat­u­ral gas fa­cil­i­ties in­ter­na­tion­ally are lo­cated much far­ther away from the shore.

“We are protest­ing the dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment, the amount of poi­sonous ma­te­ri­als that may be re­leased through the air,” said protest or­ga­nizer Ye­huda Bruner, ad­ding that he wants the govern­ment to just pipe in the dry gas with­out the con­den­sate.

“It’s a hor­ror for the en­vi­ron­ment, for peo­ple. But gas con­den­sate is also a gold mine to the oil re­fin­ery in­dus­try. There are some peo­ple that are go­ing to make bil­lions of shekels from the gas con­den­sate, and those peo­ple know their way very well in pol­i­tics,” Bruner said.

The group of pro­test­ers de­mand that the dry gas be de­liv­ered from a float­ing barge with FPSO – float­ing, pro­cess­ing, stor­ing, of­fload­ing tech­nol­ogy – in a plat­form lo­cated deep at sea next to the Le­viathan well, some 130 kilo­me­ters off­shore.

It is un­clear why Noble En­ergy has not ac­cepted the FPSO pro­posal, and the com­pany de­clined to com­ment for the ar­ti­cle. A per­son affiliated with the nat­u­ral gas in­dus­try said that the pro­test­ers should be di­rect­ing their ire not at Noble En­ergy but at the govern­ment, which granted the per­mits and li­cens­ing for the off­shore rigs.

The Le­viathan nat­u­ral gas reser­voir has yet to be de­vel­oped, and Noble En­ergy ex­pects to con­nect the site by 2019. Is­rael’s only op­er­at­ing gas field, Ta­mar, sits some 80 kilo­me­ters out at sea, and its barge is lo­cated 24 kilo­me­ters from Ashkelon.

Bruner claimed that since the Ta­mar rig opened in 2016, it has pro­duced more pol­lu­tion than the en­tire petro­chem­i­cal in­dus­try and the elec­tric in­dus­try to­gether in Is­rael. He also al­leged that the Ta­mar rig is half the size of the planned Le­viathan rig.

A Texas-based petroleum and nat­u­ral gas firm, Noble En­ergy is first build­ing the rig in the US, and then will trans­fer it to Is­rael for as­sem­bly. The com­pany is head­quar­tered in Houston and has a mar­ket val­u­a­tion of $13.5 bil­lion.

(Ye­huda Bruner)

PRO­TEST­ERS DEMON­STRATE out­side the Knes­set against Noble En­ergy’s planned off­shore gas rigs yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel

© PressReader. All rights reserved.