TEL AVIV (May. 15)
Construction is expected to begin soon on an oil pipeline from Eilat on the Gulf of Akaba to the port of Ashdod on the Mediterranean, according to Tahal, Israel’s water planning company. Construction costs are estimated at $113 million. Tahal revealed it had completed a survey for the 42-inch pipeline which will shorten the oil route from points east of Suez to European ports by some 12,500 miles.
Previously, with the Suez Canal closed, ships transporting oil from the Red Sea to European ports were required to round the African continent via the Cape of Good Hope, a Journey of close to 22,000 miles. With the new pipeline, however, the trip can be cut down to about 9,500 miles.
In its first stage of construction, estimated at an invested cost of $60 million, the pipeline would be able to carry twenty-million tons of oil per year. However, when the accessories are installed, including pressure equipment and a pumping station, the trans-Negev pipeline will be able to pump three times as much to the Mediterranean port. According to Tahal, the opening of the Suez Canal, if and when that occurs, would not preclude the usage of the new pipeline since the canal is considered too narrow and shallow for big oil tankers.