Factories along the bay will be able to use natural gas for their power needs instead of dirtier fossil fuels.
By Avi Bar-Eli

Natural gas may now start being delivered to the Haifa Bay, the National Infrastructure Ministry ruled two days ago after a two-month delay.

This means factories along the bay will be able to use natural gas for their power needs instead of dirtier fossil fuels – and residents of Haifa and the north are expected to see an improvement in their air quality as a result. The approval had been delayed by two months due to safety checks.
Haifa’s Bat Galim beach.

Haifa’s Bat Galim beach.
Photo by: Itzik-Ben Malki

The bay’s biggest natural gas consumer will be the Haifa Oil Refineries, which will be using gas for its power needs. The company expects the transition will save it $130 million a year, mostly because natural gas is cheaper than the other fuels it currently uses.

The ministry ruling means an additional 67 kilometers of gas pipes – between the Hagit power plant near Elyakim and Haifa’s Shemen beach – will now be joining Israel Natural Gas Lines’ distribution network, which already includes 420 kilometers of pipeline.

The factories will be saving hundreds of millions of shekels a year due to the addition, said a Natural Gas Lines spokesman.

“When the gas arrives in the next few days, the residents of the Haifa Bay area will be entering an era of cleaner air and improved quality of life,” said National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau.

Companies in the Haifa Bay are expected to use natural gas in place of mazut (a diesel precursor ) and cooking gas, a move that will decrease air pollution. Haifa Oil Refineries and its executives are personally obliged to the environmental protection minister to lessen their factory’s air pollution by the end of May. Switching to natural gas will help them meet this goal.