Fuel Leak From Major Pipeline in South Israel Is ‘Highly Serious,’ Says Minister – Haaretz

Though the leak only caused limited soil pollution, environmental officials say the event demonstrates environmental risk posed by transporting fuel by pipeline.

Workers clear contaminated soil near Moshav Mash'en, in southern Israel, on Monday.
Workers clear contaminated soil near Moshav Mash’en, in southern Israel, on Monday.Credit: Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry

Zafrir Rinat Aug. 30, 2021

Fuel leaked from a major pipeline on Sunday in southern Israel, causing soil pollution and sounding alarm bells for environmental officials.

The leak took place in the vicinity of Israel’s Mediterranean coast near Moshav Mash’en, adjacent to the city of Ashkelon.

The pipeline, which transports fuel to refineries in Haifa and is operated by the Europe-Asia Pipeline Company, polluted the soil in a limited area. Still, the Environmental Protection Ministry views the incident as serious because officials say it demonstrates the potential environmental risk posed by transporting fuel by pipeline.

Europe-Asia Pipeline reported the leak to the ministry on Sunday after it was detected by the company’s leak monitoring system, which spotted a change in the strength of the flow of the fuel through the pipeline. After detecting the leak, the organization halted operations. Ministry inspectors were dispatched to the scene and ordered the pipeline company to clean up the contaminated ground. Engineers also worked throughout the night to replace the 12-meter (39 feet) section of pipe where the leak occurred. By Monday morning, approximately 800 tons of polluted soil was cleared from an area of around 3 dunams (3/4 acre).

Workers clear contaminated soil near the Moshav Mash'en, in southern Israel, on Sunday night.
Workers clear contaminated soil near the Moshav Mash’en, in southern Israel, on Sunday night.Credit: Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry

In an unusual step, Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg and other senior ministry officials visited the site of the spill on Monday morning, indicating that the ministry attaches great importance to any incident related to Europe-Asia Pipeline. The ministry announced that it would investigate the circumstances of the leak and take action as needed. The ministry’s Green Police also opened a criminal investigation.

“This is a highly serious incident that again demonstrates how dangerous transporting fossil fuel in the heart of the State of Israel can be,” Zandberg said during her visit. While discussing the increase in oil tanker traffic in the country following an agreement last year between the Europe-Asia Pipeline Company and a UAE-owned company, Zandberg said this week’s incident makes it clear that mishaps occur all the time and that such incidents must not be allowed to take place near sensitive areas on land or sea, such as near the coral reefs in Eilat.

Responding to this article, Europe-Asia Pipeline said that a leak of “a small quantity in an open space” had been detected and that in accordance with applicable procedure, the operations of the pipeline were halted. “A small quantity of fuel that had leaked was pumped out and the company is working to clear the ground. The company has informed all relevant officials,” Europe-Asia said.

Over the past decade, there have been two serious incidents in which pipelines operated by Europe-Asia Pipeline caused major ground pollution: in 2011, the Zin Stream in the south was polluted, and three years later, a leak at the Evrona Nature Reserve in the southern Arava, north of Eilat, caused serious pollution.


Israel launches probe into oil spill after pipeline operator downplayed risks – YNET

Environmental Protection Ministry says some 800 metric tons of contaminated land cleared up following leakage; risk survey recently ordered by company concluded threat of environmental damage ‘negligible’

Ilana Curiel | Published: 08.30.21, 18:39 The Environmental Protection Ministry said Monday that it was investigating a large oil spill from the Trans-Israel pipeline near the southern city of Ashkelon, as clear-up efforts began.Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and TwitterAccording to the ministry, the pipeline operator — Europe Asia Pipeline Company Ltd. (EAPC) — notified them late Sunday that a spill had been detected in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council and inspectors were sent to the area to locate the leakage point.

he incident comes at an awkward timing for the state-owned company after an environmental risk survey it ordered earlier this year downplayed the potential environmental damage a serious oil spill could wreak in the Gulf of Eilat or the Mediterranean Sea and concluded that the threat of environmental damage was “negligible.”

אירוע דליפת דלק סמוך לאשקלון

The survey came as a response to a High Court petition filed by environmental groups against a deal with the United Arab Emirates that would have seen oil transported from the Gulf to Eilat port via tankers, then moved by the pipeline through mainland Israel to Ashkelon port, from where it would be shipped to Europe.The agreement, which came following both countries’ decision to normalize ties last year, was put on ice last month after the ministry decided to reject the risk survey and put back any further steps until the government discusses the controversial memorandum of understanding EAPC signed with the Gulf kingdom last October.The ministry said that engineers were working along the pipeline to replace a 12-meter (40-feet) long section where the leakage had been spotted and that some 800 tonnes of contaminated land spanning over 3 dunams (0.75 acres) were cleared by Monday morning.

תמר זנדברג בועידת מרצ

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg arrived at the scene of the spill and said that the ministry will “examine the circumstances of the incident and launch proceedings against the company as deemed fit.”EAPC said it has updated all relevant parties of the “small” leakage, including the Environmental Protection Ministry, and was working to clear up land. affected by the oil spill.