The natural gas drilling platform that was built for the offshore Tamar drilling site is nearing Israel's Mediterranean coast after being dispatched about two months ago from a shipyard in Corpus Christi, Texas. The platform, which along with its support structures is well over 200 meters tall, is to be operated by U.S.-based Noble Energy and will be installed about 25 kilometers off the coast of Ashkelon. It is expected to begin producing natural gas in March or April of next year.

The licensing rights to the gas exploration site are shared by Noble, the Delek Group, Isramco and Dor Alon Energy. Noble has the largest share in the project at 36%.

According to data provided earlier by Noble, the platform will be installed in water at a depth of about 200 meters.

The platform weighs 34,000 tons and will be operated by shifts of about 20 people, about 85% of whom will be Israelis.