The conclusion of the tender to move ammonia storage depots from Haifa to southern Israel has been postponed for a third time – but this time with good reason, according to the Environmental Affairs Ministry. In a deal with the Finance Ministry, according to Environment Minister Avi Gabay, the government will guarantee that the winner of the tender will have a guaranteed customer – the government itself.
The tender was supposed to have been completed over a year ago, but various bureaucratic snafus postponed its completion. Most of the ammonia is used to manufacture chemicals, such as fertilizers – and much of that takes place in Haifa, with Haifa Chemicals the main customer for the material. There was concern among some of the potential bidders that the company might try to replace the supply of ammonia with material from other sources, because the costs of transport from the Negev back to Haifa will increase the price of ammonia.
In a statement, the Environment Ministry said that it had come to an agreement with the Finance Ministry on the guarantees. “Many potential bidders had felt that the tender was not going to be profitable because of various circumstances that could arise, so we have improved the tender to make it economically worthwhile.”