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Israel’s biggest natural gas field, Leviathan, is expected to begin production on Monday, the Israeli energy ministry said on Thursday, after a Jerusalem court rescinded an injunction that it had granted two days earlier over emissions concerns.
The Jerusalem District Court granted on Tuesday a temporary injunction barring rig activity on the Leviathan field that entails the emission of gases. This has basically put the project on hold, but on Thursday, the same court lifted the injunction, saying that it dismisses the petition “with prejudice due to the absence of the required factual foundation,” one of the Leviathan project partners, Delek Drilling, said on Thursday.
While it said that the petitioners failed to prove that emissions could be dangerous, the court left an additional hearing as a possibility.
The Israeli Energy Ministry said on Thursday that the wells at the Leviathan gas field would open early on Monday local time and that for several hours there would be limited emissions of nitrogen and nitrogen mixed with gas, but that the change in air quality is forecast to be small.
A senior official at operator Noble Energy said at the beginning of December that Leviathan was set to begin gas supply to the local market within three weeks and to start exports to Egypt and Jordan shortly after that, in a major milestone for the energy landscape in Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Leviathan—discovered in 2010—together with other fields discovered offshore Israel in the past decade such as Tamar, Karish, and Tanin, is expected to help Israel become energy independent.
Israel is set to soon begin natural gas exports to Egypt. The two countries, which mark this year 40 years since signing a peace treaty in 1979, have made meaningful advances in their natural gas industries in recent years and are competing to become Eastern Mediterranean’s next energy hub.
Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz signed earlier this week the necessary permits for exporting natural gas from Israel to Egypt.
“Israel, for the first time in its history, has become an energy exporter - this is the most significant economic cooperation between Israel and Egypt since the peace treaty between the two states was signed,” Steinitz said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.