The state-owned Europe Asia Pipeline Company on Monday dismissed concerns of opponents of its deal to pipe Gulf oil through Israel on the way to European markets, telling the High Court that a petition filed by green groups to declare the agreement invalid had “no factual foundation” and that a risk survey found the threat of environmental damage to be “negligible.”
In the petition, submitted in May, three green organizations charged that the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the EAPC with the United Arab Emirates in October should be made null and void given that it was neither discussed nor approved by the government, nor opened for consultation with experts and the public.
The accord provides for the EAPC to transfer crude oil and oil-related products from its Red Sea terminal in Eilat to its terminal in Ashkelon on the southern Mediterranean coast via a land-based pipeline that connects the two.
It is opposed by the former and current environmental protection ministers, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the local coastal authorities, a forum of some 20 environmental organizations, scores of scientists and Eilat residents.
The opposition is due in large part to the EAPC’s shoddy environmental record and numerous past leaks — it was responsible, seven years ago, for the largest environmental disaster in Israel’s history when one of its pipelines ruptured, sending some 1.3 million gallons of crude oil into the Evrona Nature Reserve in southern Israel
Employees of the Europe–Asia Pipeline Company clean up the large deposits of crude oil that gushed out of a breached pipeline near the southern Israeli village of Beer Ora, north of Eilat, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Israel says a breached pipeline has caused a large oil spill in the southern part of the country. The spill occurred when the pipeline, linking Eilat to the port city of Ashkelon on the Mediterranean Sea, burst. The spill occurred in a dramatic desert landscape featuring steeply rising cliffs near Israel’s border with Jordan. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)There are also real fears for Eilat’s coral reefs, with impacts not only to the city’s tourism and employment sectors but also globally.
In its response to the petition, the EAPC said it had commissioned a risk survey, which had shown that “severe damage leading to full loss of the entire content of a tanker or external damage to a tanker and significant loss of content” would only occur once every 366,300 years.
The likelihood of leakage in a pipe carrying fuel to a ship was determined to be so low it would only occur once every 1,111 years, the company went on.
“An insignificant spill,” which was not quantified, was likely to take place once every 24 years. If such a spill happened, said the EAPC, the…
Go to the news source: State company defends UAE pipeline deal, says oil spill risks ‘negligible’