Security Concerns

Israel’s petrochemical facilities are strategic targets in a highly volatile region. Former Raphael missile expert Yeshayahu Schatzberger warned that Iran and Hezbollah have the missile capacity to strike the Leviathan rig, Haifa’s refinery and related condensate and gas facilities. A separate report also warned that an attack on a nearshore platform could endanger Israel’s national security, shutting down desalination plants and jeopardizing electricity production.

Unfortunately, despite these expert warnings and a nationwide struggle by IHG and other citizen organizations, the Ministry of Energy went ahead with its plans for the Leviathan processing rig. The nearshore platform began operations in January 2020, accompanied by Hezbollah threats. Moreover, Israel still has current plans for gas-fired facilities nationwide.

An attack would not be a first for local petrochemical facilities. On several occasions, Jihadist extremists sabotaged the Egyptian-Israeli pipeline running through the Sinai Peninsula. In 2019, a massive rocket attack from Gaza forced Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz to shut down the offshore Tamar rig (located 14 miles from Ashdod/Ashkelon). This repeated during the May 2021 conflict, when a direct Hamas hit on a gas pipeline in Ashdod caused Chevron to shut down Tamar. 

These events drive home the dangers of coupling an inherently unsafe industry involving highly volatile and environmentally damaging materials with the strife-filled Middle East and underlie IHG’s relentless efforts to transition Israel to safe energy. 

"An attack on the nearshore platform will endanger Israel's national security, dumping hazardous materials into the sea and shutting down Israel's desalination plants. The electricity system will also be jeopardized, since the power stations require seawater for ongoing operation."

Maritime researcher Mr. Nir Zarchi and Prof. Shaul Horev, former Navy Chief and Head of Israel's atomic energy committee
Reuters: Israeli energy pipeline hit in Gaza rocket attack, sources say

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