Leviathan gas barges approach, setting Israel on course to be natural gas exporter by year’s end

Israel is a giant step closer to becoming a natural gas exporter.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Natural gas will start flowing from Israel’s Leviathan gas field off the coast of Haifa by the end of the year, if all projections pan out, according to Noble Energy, the company that discovered the enormous reservoir in December 2010.

The four gigantic barges that are bringing the various sections of the energy platform are set to arrive in the coming days.

Over the course of the next month, the biggest offshore semi-submersible crane vessel in the world will put together the five structures that will sit together on top of the Mediterranean Sea.

These decks will contain the employees’ work and “home” areas, the gas-processing complex, power generation units, water desalination and waste treatment facilities, and a helipad. Situated ten kilometers off of Israel’s coast, its utilities will be run completely independently, as if it’s a small town.

All together, the structure will rise 47 meters above ocean level as it sits at a water depth of 86 meters. But there will also be a 130-meter high platform boom rising into the air that will mark the spot for anyone in the area. The boom is there for safety reasons, as it contains a flare at its tip to prevent hydrocarbon emissions from leaking into the atmosphere.

Another safety — and security — issue has been addressed by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which has set a radius of three kilometers around the platform as a no-go zone for unauthorized vessels.

After all the different units have been assembled, the company will do a series of “commissioning tests.”

By the end of 2019, Leviathan is expected to begin producing and processing the subsea gas sitting 125 kilometers west of Haifa and piping it to Israel. It is expected that some 12 billion cubic meters of gas will flow into the country annually.

The Leviathan field – holding 934 BCM (33 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas – is one of the largest natural gas finds in the world of the last decade.

It will enable Israel to become a natural gas exporter, bringing billions of shekels into the economy.

It will also be good news for the security of the state and the environment, as Israel will be able to generate electricity based almost entirely on a locally produced resource and eliminate the need to rely on coal or other pollutants as a power source.

In the video below, a  gas barge with part of the Leviathon gas platform can be seen leaving the Gulf of Mexico in July on its journey to Israel.