After 5-week suspension due to war, drilling resumes at Tamar offshore gas platform

Chevron oil giant says it was allowed by Israel to restart operations in natural gas field more than a month after drilling was halted over security concerns

Illustrative: The Tamar gas field. (NewMed Energy/Delek Drilling)
Illustrative: The Tamar gas field. (NewMed Energy/Delek Drilling)

Drilling resumed at the Tamar gas field off the coast of Israel on Monday after more than a monthlong suspension, according to a statement from Chevron, the US energy giant that operates the offshore platform.

Chevron said it had “resumed supplying customers in Israel and in the region from the Tamar production platform,” in a statement picked up by Reuters and The New York Times.

The statement noted that it had been asked to restart operations by the Israeli Energy Ministry last week.

The platform shut down on October 9 following an order by the Energy Ministry, two days after the Hamas onslaught against southern Israel on October 7, which sparked an ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

The Tamar platform is located off the coast of Ashkelon, just north of the Gaza Strip, an area that has seen heavy rocket fire from Gaza in recent weeks. The Leviathan gas platform, located off the coast of Haifa in the north, remained in operation throughout the war.

Data released on Monday showed a sharp drop in rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza in recent days as the war continues and the Israel Defense Forces’ ground operation in the Strip intensifies.

Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel over destroyed buildings, October 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)

According to data from the IDF’s Home Front Command, 3,523 rocket alerts were activated between October 7 and 14, while 455 were activated from November 5 to 12, amid a wider downward trend over the five weeks since the war began.

The IDF believes Hamas is stockpiling rockets for a long war, and also that the terror group is also having difficulty launching attacks from northern Gaza, where the Israeli Defense Forces have gained control over large swaths of territory.

Chevron was also instructed to shut down Tamar’s operations during the weeklong war between Israel and Gaza in 2021.

In a statement announcing the halt of activity last month, Chevron wrote that “our top priority is the safety of our personnel, the communities in which we operate, the environment and our facilities.”

The Energy Ministry did not immediately comment on the restart of operations at Tamar.

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