Some really good news from the natural gas industry was made public today: One of Israel’s natural gas wells has gone online early.
A US Israeli consortium began supplying Israel with natural gas from its offshore Pinnacles well on Wednesday to help stave off a national energy shortage expected this summer.
Israel lost about 40 percent of its natural gas supplies in early 2011 when saboteurs in the Sinai peninsula began attacking the pipeline that carried gas to Israel from Egypt as part of a 20-year deal. In April, Egypt officially terminated the deal, sending Israel scrambling to find alternative power sources.
(I blogged about the Egyptian treaty cancellation here, and about the pipeline attacks here).
As a result, the Israeli government instructed all exploration groups in its economic waters, where large reserves of natural gas were recently discovered, to speed up operations.
Texas-based Noble Energy, which leads the Pinnacles group, said they were starting to supply Israel with 150 million cubic feet of gas per day almost a month ahead of schedule.
“Though limited in resource size, this well will provide much-needed gas production rate just in time for the hot summer months,” the company said in a statement.
The new supplies will replace more expensive and dirtier fuels Israel has had to turn to, like diesel and fuel oil, and save the economy about $170 million this summer, Noble said.
To remind you, Noble Energy has promised that their gas field will start producing natural gas in 2013. It is a very pleasant change that something good is happening ahead of schedule. Long may it continue.