The Levitan rig
Photo: Albatross

'Natural gas reliance poses security risk'

Dozens of former defense establishment officials warn government's intention to base energy market on offshore gas depositories perilous

Dozens of former top defense establishment officials warned Sunday against the government's intention to base Israel's future energy market solely on the offshore gas depositories discovered in the Mediterranean.


Such reliance, they said, may create a security risk Israel will find difficult to ward off.



Over 80 former defense establishment officials sent a letter expressing these concerns to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau.


The letter urges the trio to call a comprehensive security meeting on the matter without delay.


Israel has been pursuing an ongoing expansion of the use of natural gas for the past few years. Natural gas is prevalent in half of Israel Electric Corp. facilities, and future power plants – set to become operational by 2013 – will be based on it solely, with only diesel oil as their back-up.


"We, reservists and defense officials, are very concerned by recent debates about the nature of Israel's future energy market," the letter reads.

The Tamar gas exploration site (Photo: Reuters)


Becoming dependent on the newly-discovered natural gas depositories "is a dangerous decision, both for national security and for Israel's power of deterrence… Should a rig or its infrastructure – hundreds of miles of vulnerable underwater pipelines – be compromised, the country could be paralyzed; and the public, which will be instantaneously thrown back to the Stone Age, will panic.


"It is clear to every Israeli that the offshore rigs have become a strategic target for Israel's enemies and that the IDF, like any other army, cannot guarantee it full immunity; since it does not depend on the military's capability or technology, but on the very nature of the mission."


Those who signed on the letter, including Maj.-Gen (Res.) Amram Mitzna, former defense minister Amir Peretz and several Reserves colonels, urged the government to diversify its energy sources, "which would guarantee the power supply in the event of war or national crisis."


The security at the Yam Thetis, Levitan and Tamar offshore gas exploration sites is considered localized. Sans an official outline for the rigs' security, the Navy makes sure to maintain prominent presence near all three sites.


Nevertheless, military sources told Ynet naval deployment of this nature overtime will exhaust the corps resources.


Tani Goldstein contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 06.20.11, 00:18
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