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Chevron Halts Gas Field Off Israel As Violence Flares Up

U.S. supermajor Chevron has complied with instructions from Israel’s energy ministry to shut down operations at the Tamar natural gas field offshore Israel after the violence between Israel and Gaza escalated in recent days.

“In accordance with instructions received from the Ministry of Energy, we have shut-in and depressurised the Tamar Platform,” Chevron said in a statement on Wednesday, as carried by Reuters.

Chevron has an interest in another gas field offshore Israel, the Leviathan gas field, the biggest energy project in Israel ever, after it bought Noble Energy last year in the first major transaction in the U.S. oil industry since the pandemic started.

Currently, the Leviathan gas field continues production, and Chevron is “working with customers and the relevant regulatory bodies to ensure that natural gas supplies continue,” Reuters quoted the supermajor as saying.

Access to huge gas resources diversified Chevron’s portfolio with more natural gas resources and a position in the eastern Mediterranean very close to the Middle East and European gas markets.

“Noble Energy brings low-capital, cash-generating offshore assets in Israel, strengthening Chevron’s position in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Chevron said last October, announcing it had completed the acquisition.

Back then, the timing couldn’t have been better to bet on the Eastern Mediterranean— Israel had just normalized relations with two Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.

But now, the violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel has prompted the Israeli energy ministry to instruct Chevron to shut down production at the Tamar field.  

The violence erupted in recent days in Jerusalem, at a site considered holy by both Jews and Muslims. As of Thursday, at least 83 people were killed in Gaza and another seven in Israel, the BBC reports, as Hamas is launching rockets toward Israel while Israel is conducting airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. The flare-up in the violence is the worst in the area since 2014.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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