Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection reported on Friday that there was a crack on Israel’s natural gas rig off the coast of Ashkelon. The ministry announced that despite the move to liquid fuel, however, there had been no significant increase in air pollution. It is still not clear when the problem will be fixed and until then, Israelis can anticipate a rise in electricity prices and energy shortages.

Tamar natural gas field

Tamar natural gas field Photo Credit: Albatross/ Channel 2 News

Despite the halt in the flow of gas from the Tamar natural gas field and the move to liquid fuels, there has been no increase in air pollution near the industrial centers and power stations, Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said Sunday. The ministry explained that one of the factors of the relatively encouraging data was the holiday and the long weekend, during which the industrial plants used very little electricity.

Two days ago, the Ministry of Energy announced that due to a malfunction, the flow of natural gas had been completely halted. At first, it was estimated that the malfunction would last for 24 hours and then 48 hours, but it now appears that repairs will take longer than expected. As such, there is growing concern that electricity cuts will begin as early as the coming week and how this will all affect the industrial sector as well as private households.

Should the problem be fixed by next Sunday, three days later than planned, Israelis can expect a decline in air quality and an almost definite increase in their September electricity bills; diesel is more expensive than natural gas and they will also be paying for maintenance and transportation costs.

All of the power plants in the country have switched to alternative fuels, such as diesel, fuel oil and coal. In some of the IEC power stations, the diesel has run out and they have already switched to fuel oil- a much more polluting substance.