Yehudah, Shomron Towns to Get Direct Natural Gas Hookups

YERUSHALAYIM -
An aeriel view of the Israeli Tamar gas processing rig, 18 miles off the coast of Ashkelon. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

After three years of efforts, officials announced that industrial zones in Yehudah and Shomron will be hooked up to a growing pipeline network that will bring natural gas directly to those zones. Construction of the national pipeline network is already underway, and officials say construction to the Yehudah and Shomron region will begin within months.

The pipeline project was the idea of Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who initiated it three years ago in order to save on transport costs for the gas which is being produced in the Tamar, and soon Leviathan gas fields. The lines bring gas directly to factories, as well as to electricity installations, thus ensuring a continuous flow of energy.

Yehudah and Shomron were not included in the original iteration of the plan, and officials have been very anxious to include the region, because of large savings that will be realized due to transportation costs. Officials were fearful that failure to include industry in Yehudah and Shomron would make companies located there less competitive, as they would have to pay much more for energy. There are 14 industrial zones in Yehudah and Shomron, the largest one being the Barkan Industrial Zone near Ariel.

Shomron Council head Yossi Dagan said “our objective is to bring a million Jews to the Shomron. The growth of housing and industry requires that in 2019, the law would cover all areas equally. Unfortunately that law has not been enforced yet, and I am happy that after much effort, we were successful in moving the program forward. Israel has been in existence for 71 years, and Jews have lived in Yehudah and Shomron for 52 years – with 12% of Israelis living here. There was no need to even have to enter this ‘saga’ of having to persuade the government that the region is worthy of directly delivered natural gas,” Dagan added.