TEL AVIV (Jan. 7)
The fire that has been raging at the Abu Rodeis offshore oil wells since last Wednesday was reported to have been contained today and its source located. But the blaze is far from extinguished and is still sending pillars of flame and smoke into the air, visible for miles. Estimates of the loss resulting from the fire have been put at 15 percent of Abu Rodeis’ total output and up to 20 percent of Israel’s annual oil consumption.
Pumping from the undamaged offshore and inland oil wells has been intensified, meanwhile, although Israeli experts have expressed fear that the entire offshore field will have to be abandoned until the fire is put out and the damage is repaired. Repairs will require new platforms and pipes to replace those wrecked by the fire.
Israel is still awaiting the arrival of specialists from abroad in putting out offshore oil well fires. Foreign help was called for last week but apparently there were delays in locating the men needed. Sources said today that one expert has been contacted and will arrive at the scene within a few days. Israeli engineers have begun surveying for new oil sources to replace the Abu Rodeis losses.