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Israeli Ministry Further Delays Transfer of Offshore Gas

Israel’s Environmental Ministry has ordered developers to postpone the test of a six-mile-long undersea natural-gas pipeline due to ecological concerns, leading to further delays in a program already seen as years overdue. The test involves flushing nitrogen, a colorless, odorless and inert gas, through the pipeline, and then purging it on shore, where environmentalists have said the overall project has the greatest chance of causing damage. The developers have been ordered to bring in experts to further assess the impact of the purge. The natural gas is slated to come from a giant undersea field discovered about 80 miles offshore close to a decade ago, with the potential of making Israel an energy exporter to the tune of many billions of dollars in royalties. Pumping and production have already been delayed over last-minute disagreements in pricing for the domestic market. The gas will be exported to Egypt, which recently sealed an agreement on the matter, and potentially to Jordan and other countries.