The partners in the Israeli deep-water gas field Tamar are considering ways of boosting output once production starts, which should be within weeks, in order to supply a hungry Israeli market.
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One plan involves converting a condensate pipe that currently carries away a byproduct of the drilling process, to transport the natural gas itself.
The Tamar partnership is led by U.S.-based Noble Energy (which owns a 36% interest), Delek Group subsidiaries , Isramco and Alon Natural Gas Exploration.
The move to boost initial production is part of an effort to increase gas supplies to the Israeli market. Israel had been highly reliant in the past on the supply of natural gas from Egypt, but following instability in that country and the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak two years ago, gas supplies from Egypt were cut off. The shortage of natural gas has been especially dire for the Israel Electric Corporation, which had relied heavily on the fuel to generate electricity. Due to the unavailability of gas, the IEC had to resort to more expensive alternatives.
The Tamar field alone is not expected to supply sufficient supplies of natural gas to Israel in the coming years, although Israel ultimately will have large reserves from other offshore sites to draw on, notably from the major Leviathan site.
The use of the condensate pipe could boost production at the Tamar drilling site by 10%, but when combined with a plan to deploy additional compressors and also draw on gas from the Tethys Sea site, which partners from the Delek Group are using to store gas, the daily output could even by boosted by as much as 50% to 60%.
The Tethys Sea site, in which the Delek Group has a 53% stake, sold just 2.5 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas to Israeli customers in 2012, compared to 4.3 BCM in 2011.