Israeli Panel to Discuss Increasing Stores of Liquid Petroleum Gas

Three weeks after 5 million liters of crude oil spilled in the Arava Desert, Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company is looking for approval to expand.

Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Employees of the Trans-Israel Pipeline clean up the large deposits of crude oil that gushed out of a breached pipeline north of Eilat,  Friday, Dec. 5.
Employees of the Trans-Israel Pipeline clean up the large deposits of crude oil that gushed out of a breached pipeline north of Eilat, Friday, Dec. 5.Credit: AP
Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat

A plan to increase stores of liquid petroleum gas to roughly 60,000 tons is on the agenda of a National Planning and Building Council subcommittee meeting Tuesday.

The panel is set to discuss approval for a national master plan to store the 60,000 tons in three new storage facilities in the north, one of them in Haifa. The rest would be kept in central and southern Israel.

The master plan is also meant to cover a doubling of capacity for an Ashkelon storage facility run by the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company, the company whose pipeline leaked 5 million liters of crude oil into the Arava Desert three weeks ago.

The enlarged facility is set to house 20,000 tons of liquid petroleum gas, which is mostly propane, butane or a mix of the two. It is also set to store a large amount of gasoline.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Planning and Building Council subcommittee will need to examine the council’s recommendation of using a facility in the south that would not transport gas in containers, but rather send it through a pipeline to the refinery in Ashdod, from where it could be distributed.

The new master plan, if adopted, would call for constructing a new storage facility, as well as a new site for storing gasoline. Environmental agencies have expressed concern that the facilities will endanger local residents. Haifa’s planning and building committee recommended constructing another site, at Yavor, due to the high concentration of national infrastructure sites at Haifa’s port.

This month’s oil spill has given rise to criticism of the Eilat Ashkelon company’s lack of transparency and record keeping.

On Sunday the Israel Union for Environmental Defense petitioned the High Court of Justice to lift the pipeline company’s immunity to the law that requires reporting information on its activities. The environmental organization wants the government to explain why it does not release environmental and safety information on the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company’s activities.

The company, which is operating a concession that expires in 2017, said expanding the current facility would cost less than building a new one.

The Ashkelon municipality opposes increasing storage capacity, saying an enlarged facility would detract from residential building development in the southern part of the city. Municipal officials also warned of the dangers transporting gas canisters in and out of the area, including the possibility of Qassam rockets hitting gas canisters in transit. The company said it would uphold all safety regulations.

The government is in contact with the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company about expanding the Ashkelon facility, said Energy and Water Resources Ministry official Dorit Hochner.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott