Israel ordered on Thursday natural gas production at the huge offshore Leviathan field be reduced by around 40 percent after a fault was detected in a subsea pipeline leading?

Israel ordered on Thursday natural gas production at the huge offshore Leviathan field be reduced by around 40 percent after a fault was detected in a subsea pipeline leading to the wells, the energy ministry said.

There wasn't any damage to the platform and associated facilities, nor any leak into the sea, the ministry added, as carried by the Jerusalem Post.

After the fault was discovered, the energy ministry told the operator of the platform, U.S.-based Noble Energy, to cut the volumes of natural gas production by 40 percent.

Production will be allowed to increase only after all necessary tests are successfully completed, the ministry said. ?

Leviathan has just begun production and the fault discovered on Thursday was the second malfunction on the site this week. Early on Tuesday, a power outage led to the burning off of gas, and operations were suspended for several hours.

There is no connection between the glitch on Tuesday and the fault discovered on Thursday, the Israeli energy ministry said.

Leviathan?discovered in 2010?together with other fields discovered offshore Israel in the past decade such as Tamar, Karish, and Tanin, is expected to?help Israel become energy independent.

A senior official at Noble Energy said at the beginning of December that Leviathan was?set to begin gas supply?to the local market within three weeks and to start exports to Egypt and Jordan shortly after that, in a major milestone for the energy landscape in Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean. ?

Noble Energy announced first gas at Leviathan on December 31, when J. Keith Elliott, Senior Vice President, Offshore, said:

?Leviathan natural gas provides redundancy in supply domestically and helps transition Israel to become a significant exporter of energy to regional and global customers for the first time.?

Israeli natural gas exports to Egypt started in the middle of January.

?This move also allows Israel to export some of its natural gas to Europe through Egypt's LNG facilities, and promote Egypt's status as a regional gas hub,? the Israeli energy ministry said in mid-January.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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