Operations to Start at Leviathan Gas Field After Israeli Ministry Gives Green Light

Israel signed off on the project, which was supposed to begin earlier this week, but needed extra data from the energy companies running the field

The foundation platform for the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, about 130 kilometres (81 miles) west of the coast of Haifa, January 31, 2019.
Marc Israel SELLEM / POOL / AFP

Companies developing the huge natural gas field Leviathan will begin production on Tuesday after receiving approval from Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry, one of the project’s partners said on Friday.

Leviathan was supposed to begin operations on December 24, but the ministry, which monitors emissions from the project, said it needed extra data from the energy companies running the field and would postpone production.

Delek Drilling, which is leading the project with Texas-based Noble Energy, said in a statement that it had received approval from the ministry and will begin gas production on December 31.

Production was delayed earlier this month for a couple of days until a court lifted a temporary injunction granted over environmental concerns.

The field’s discovery in 2010 helped turn Israel into a potential energy exporter. The project’s partners have already signed major, multi-billion dollar export deals to Egypt and Jordan.