Tamar in production

Production from the Tamar field offshore Israel started at the weekend, it has been reported.

TamarTamar field (Image: Delek)

The gas from the field 80km offshore Haifa was expected to reach Israel’s port city of Ashdod by yesterday afternoon, Israel's Energy and Water Ministry said.

The field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, estimated to hold 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, is being developed by a group that includes Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Isramco Negev 2.

“This is an important day for the Israeli economy,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today in an e-mailed statement. “We are taking an important step toward energy independence.”

“This is the beginning of a new era,” said Isaac Tshuva, controlling shareholder of Delek Group, which owns stakes in Tamar via its Delek Drilling and Avner units. “The Israeli economy will be able to exploit the advantages of natural gas environmentally, geopolitically, socially and economically, and turn Israel into an important international player.”

The flow from Tamar is expected to contribute about 1% to Israel’s gross domestic product, the Bank of Israel said in report on March 24.

Noble Energy, which holds 36% in Tamar and is operator, has forecast Israeli demand for gas to grow at a compounded rate of 15% in 2012-2017.

It said Tamar was the largest deepwater natural gas discovery in the world in 2009. The project was sanctioned in September 2010.

US firm Kiewit Offshore Services fabricated the 11,000-ton topsides for the Tamar field development with total production capacity of 1,600 MMSCFD. It also built the jacket, which sits in 800 feet of water.

Noble says the Tamar project includes the world’s longest subsea tieback at 93 miles and in 5,505 ft water depth.

Noble is also behind the Leviathan discovery offshore Israel. Noble said Leviathan "represents the largest exploration success in Noble Energy's history, with gross mean resources of 17 Tcf of natural gas. We are actively studying multiple export options, including both LNG and pipeline scenarios."

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