Israel Eyes Second Import Terminal
The Israeli gas authority, an energy ministry department, supports more LNG imports, according to The Marker, a business daily. In order to accomplish that the authority will recommend building a second terminal. The first is offshore north of Tel Aviv and is operated by Israel Natural Gas Lines, a state-owned company. The only LNG importer is Israel Electric Corp. (IEC) which is the biggest gas consumer in the country and most of the gas imports are for its own use.
In order to operate a second off shore terminal Israel will have to lease another floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU). The current FSRU is leased on a five-year contract from Excelerate Energy, which has already offered the ministry the use of another vessel.
Proponents of a second LNG off shore terminal argue that it is needed in order as a backup to the gas system and increase energy security, Israel has no gas storage facilities and a failure for any reason in any part of the chain would stop gas supply to all consumers and cause power outages. At the moment, 60% of Israel's power generation is gas-fired. Proponents also argue that it will help small factories getting gas supply which currently they cannot get because of gas shortages.
Excelerate Energy's Excellence, offshore Israel (Credit: Excelerate)
Opponents claim that development of a new off shore LNG terminal will decrease the number of Leviathan's potential customers, which are needed in order to develop the gas field.
The only off shore LNG terminal is rarely used only as a backup to the system. It handles 0.2-1bn m³/yr though it could handle up to 5bn m³/yr.
Importing LNG 'a surreal situation'
According to an Israeli gas expert, who prefers to remain anonymous, investing in a new off shore LNG terminal is like throwing dollar bills into the Mediterranean. "It will be much better to develop Karish and Tanin [two small gas fields off shore Israel] than wasting hundreds of millions of dollars [in building new import infrastructure and importing LNG]," he told NGE. "The budget for new infrastructure and imports could cost NIS 2bn ($520 mn) in five years. It is much more economical to further develop gas transportation from Tamar in order to increase gas supply to the domestic market and then develop small gas fields. It is surreal to construct a second LNG terminal."