By Benoit Faucon
U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. has shut a natural-gas facility it operates offshore Israel amid an escalation of the conflict in the Middle-East nation, underscoring the risks faced by hydrocarbons extraction in the prolific yet volatile East Mediterranean.
"In accordance with instructions received from the [Israeli] Ministry of Energy, we have shut-in and depressurized the Tamar Platform," said a spokeswoman for Chevron, which owns 25% in the acreage. She said the company was supplying its customers with the nearby, bigger Leviathan field, which it also operates.
Fighting between Israel and Hamas intensified on Tuesday, with the Palestinian militant group launching hundreds of rockets from Gaza and Israel responding with airstrikes that have now killed more than 25 people, as the two sides prepared for a wider conflict. Hamas's Al-Qassam Brigades said on their Telegram channel Wednesday that they had launched a missile on one of Israel's gas platforms near the Gaza coastline. A person familiar with the situation at Israel's offshore facilities called such claims "fake news."
The discovery of giant natural-gas reserves in the East Mediterranean in recent years has led to hopes the region could become a key energy exporter but has also exacerbated geopolitical tensions, notably between Turkey and its neighbors.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires