JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s energy minister decided on Sunday to temporarily halt natural gas supplies from the offshore field Tamar due to a surge in violence with Gaza militants, the ministry said in a statement.
Israel receives most of its natural gas supplies from Tamar. The field is located some 90 kilometers (56 miles) in deep waters of the Mediterranean, but its production platform stands just 25 kilometers off the coast of southern Israel.
The Gaza Strip, where cross-border fighting between militants and Israel surged on Sunday, is visible from the platform and within range of Palestinian rockets.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz declared an emergency to ensure power generation is not interrupted, the ministry said. This typically means using more expensive fossil fuels like diesel and fuel oil.
Tamar is owned by a U.S.-Israeli consortium including Noble Energy and Delek Drilling.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky