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Court Lifts Injunction Against Israeli Gas Field Operation

Court Lifts Injunction Against Israeli Gas Field Operation

Thursday, 19 December, 2019 - 08:00
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the newly arrived foundation platform of Leviathan natural gas field, in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Haifa, Israel January 31, 2019. Marc Israel Sellem/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

An Israeli court lifted on Thursday a temporary injunction that had threatened to delay production at the Leviathan gas field due to environmental concerns, Reuters reported.

Rescinding Tuesday's injunction, the Jerusalem District Court said appellants had not provided sufficient evidence that Leviathan's emissions, in its start-up phase, could prove dangerous. It also cited reassurances provided by government representatives as to precautions taken at the site.

However, the court left open the possibility of further hearings on the issue, Reuters said.

On Tuesday, the Jerusalem court, in a surprise decision, issued a temporary order that barred any gas emissions from Leviathan, effectively putting the project, which was due to come on line this month, on hold.

The companies, led by Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Drilling, have already signed major, multi-billion dollar deals for exports.

Leviathan was discovered in 2010 about 120 km off Israel's coast. But its towering production platform was constructed much closer to shore - just 10 km away.

Environmental activists and municipalities located near where the pipeline comes ashore had tried unsuccessfully - including at the country's Supreme Court - to block the plan and force it to be built further out at sea.

The Leviathan partners are now waiting to open the wells and fill the subsea pipeline with natural gas, a process that sends emissions into the air.

The latest petition to halt the process was brought by several municipalities and an environmental group against the project's operator, Noble, and Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry.

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