Leviathan Rig Malfunction Prompts Gas to Be Burnt, Flow Stops

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The Leviathan natural gas rig malfunction, February 11, 2020.
The Leviathan natural gas rig malfunction, February 11, 2020.

The natural gas flow from the Leviathan field was halted Tuesday because of a four-and-a-half-hour hitch during the early morning hours, the Energy Ministry said, after residents reported hearing a loud explosion in the morning.

With the opening of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading, the Leviathan gas field stocks traded lower than usual.

The Energy Ministry said, that “there was a power failure at the rig at night and a malfunction that required the natural gas to be emptied from the rig." This is done by burning the gas, which happens whenever the rig is emptied. The torch then burns the natural gas to keep it from being emitted into the air, the ministry said. 

"It should be emphasized that there was no explosion on the rig," the statement countinued. "The ministry will investigate the incident with Noble Energy and update the public on the results.”

The U.S.-based Nobel Energy company said in response that “following the incident, a power outage occurred during the night that required the natural gas to be torched, according to procedure. No explosion or other unusual event occurred.” After testing the systems' functionality, the company said, gas production continued. 

Carmel Coast Council Chairman and Union Chairman Asif Isaac said “this is a serious event that needs to be examined. I asked the Director General of the Energy Ministry to conduct an immediate investigation. We will study the investigation and treat it accordingly.”

The offshore Leviathan field came online a month ago and began supplying Egypt and Jordan with natural gas shortly afterward. The gas exports to Egypt are carried over the EMG pipeline, which Delek and its partners, including Texas-based Noble Energy, acquired last year.

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