Photo Credit: Moshe Shai / Flash 90
An aeriel view of the Israeli 'Tamar' gas processing rig 24 km off the Israeli southern coast of Ashkelon.

Israel has suspended production at its Tamar natural gas field off the southern Mediterranean coast, the Energy Ministry announced Monday.

The news comes as the war against Israel launched Saturday by Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization further intensified with the start of an Israeli offensive operation against the terror group.


“In the wake of the situation, Israel’s defense establishment has ordered the temporary suspension of natural gas supplies from the Tamar field,” the ministry said in its statement.

“The economy’s energy needs will be supplied by alternative fuels. The power industry is preparing to use alternative fuels to power its stations.”

Some of the natural gas exported from the Tamar field, located about 15 miles (25 kilometers) off the coast of Ashdod, is sent to neighboring Egypt and Jordan.

Ashdod has been repeatedly hit by heavy rocket fire from Gaza since the start of the war on Saturday, and the nearby Tamar platform is well within the rocket firing range.

Chevron, the energy firm that operates the Tamar gas field, confirmed to Reuters that it was instructed by the ministry to shut down the field.

In a separate statement, the Energy Ministry said Minister Israel Katz was authorized by the government to order a state of emergency for the country’s energy sector during the next two weeks, if necessary, thus allowing allocation of natural gas to consumers in the case of shortages.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.