The Energean Power FPSO has arrived on location in Israel and hook-up and commissioning operations are expected to begin immediately. However, Lebanon has warned Israel against any activity in the area as it believes the gas field is located within disputed waters.
Israel has moved a production vessel (FPSO) to a natural gas field that’s partly claimed by Lebanon, as the Israeli government looks to boost supplies of the fuel to Europe.
The ship — known as a floating production, storage and offloading vessel — arrived at the Karish offshore field on Sunday and should start gas production by September, the Israeli energy ministry said in a statement.
Energean informed in an update on Monday that the vessel has now arrived in Israel. The FPSO sailed away from Sembcorp Marine’s Admiralty Yard in Singapore to Israel in early May. The 5,532 nautical mile-long journey took 35 days, crossing six seas and passing through the Suez Canal.
Energean added it will immediately begin hook-up and commissioning operations, which includes risers and jumpers installation as well as the commissioning of the sales gas pipeline. Energean expects approximately three to four months of commissioning before the first gas, which remains on track for 3Q this year.
The gas flows will “significantly strengthen Israel’s supply surplus and energy security,” said Energy Minister Karine Elharrar. The field “positions Israel as a natural gas power and will make it possible to increase natural gas exports” to Egypt and other countries in the region.
Mathios Rigas, Chief Executive Officer of Energean, commented: “I am delighted to confirm that the Energean Power FPSO has arrived on location in Israel. This marks a major step forward in delivering first gas from Karish which remains on track for 3Q 2022. We look forward to continuing our progress through Karish first gas, the commercialisation of the newly defined Olympus Area and contributing to energy security and competition of supply for the region.”
Lebanon criticized the move. Lebanese President Michel Aoun said in a tweet on Sunday that negotiations to demarcate the maritime boundary are ongoing and that “any activity in the disputed area” would be a “hostile act.”
Lebanon claims that the Karish gas field is located within the disputed area.
Israel’s navy is preparing for possible attacks on the vessel from Hezbollah, Israeli public broadcaster Kan News reported. Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militant group. The area will be secured by missile-defense systems, ships and submarines, according to Kan News.
Israel and Lebanon have held a series of US-brokered talks in recent years to try and resolve the dispute. The negotiations are complicated by the fact Lebanon doesn’t officially recognize Israel.
London-listed Energean Plc, set to operate Karish, has said gas should start flowing by the third quarter. The field will complement Israeli production from the nearby deposits of Leviathan and Tamar.
Israel is negotiating a three-way agreement with the European Union and Egypt to boost gas exports to Europe in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The plan is for Israel to increase supplies to Egypt through existing pipelines, and for the gas to then be shipped in liquefied form to Europe.
Last month, Energean signed a new Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) for up to 0.8 bcm/yr. Under the agreement, Energean will supply gas to the East Hagit Power Plant Limited Partnership, a partnership between the Edeltech Group and Shikun & Binui Energy. The GSPA is for a term of approximately 15 years, for a total contract quantity of up to 12 bcm.