The U.S. oil giant, Chevron, announced this Thursday it shut its offshore gas platform Tamar, off the coasts of Gaza. The shut was due to threats of attack by group Hamas, amid the intensification of the Israel-Gaza conflict.
Firstly, according to the Times of Israel, Chevron shut Tamar at Israel’s request. In fact, the company told to S&P Global, that they acted “in accordance with instructions received from the Ministry of Energy (of Israel). We have shut in and depressurized the Tamar platform.”
Secondly, the company outlined that “it is our top priority to keep the safety of our personnel, our facilities, and the environment of the communities in which we operate. We are closely monitoring the situation and focusing on the safe and reliable supply of gas for the benefit of the Israeli domestic market.”
However, the Israeli Energy Minister denied to have any meaningful connection with the Tamar shut or the Hamas threat of targeting Chevron’s asset. Nevertheless, Yuval Steinitz recognized he gave the order to halt operations at Tamar on Tuesday as an “extra precaution.”
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Tamar has been shut in the past
Indeed, in a statement, Energy Minister’s office said. “The minister did so by virtue of his authority, after consulting with security officials and experts in the energy sector. We are taking various steps to ensure the continuation of the gas supply to power plants for industrial factories throughout the country.”
Moreover, according to the TOI, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades; which is the armed wing of Hamas, said on Wednesday they “targeted a Zionist gas platform off the coasts of Gaza.” Nevertheless, activities at the larger gas field of Leviathan, off the coasts of Israel continues to operate.
On the other hand, this is not the first time Chevron shuts Tamar gas field. Steinitz also ordered operations to stop there, back in May, 2019. Back then, Tamar was the only natural gas source for Israel, as the country hadn’t initiated the Leviathan field.
Finally, Chevron gas a participation of 39,66% in Tamar, after it acquired it from Noble Energy. As the armed conflict between Gaza and Israel intensifies, hits on energy assets are a common thing, even offshore. In recent days, a tank in the region Ashkelon was hit by a rocket.