Israel has granted UK energy firm Energean final approval to commence production at Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.

The permission has been granted by the Israeli Ministry of Energy Fuel Administration head Chen Bar Yosef days before a maritime border agreement is set to be signed between Israel and Lebanon.

The US-brokered deal between Israel and Lebanon was crucial to start exploration at Karish field as it faced considerable threats from Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is supported by Iran.

Karish field is located nearly 80km west of Haifa, Israel.

Israel Minister of Energy Karine Elharar said: “As we promised, immediately after the safety and technical tests were completed, approval was given today to start production of natural gas from the Karish reservoir. The production from the reservoir comes after considerable effort by the company, as well as by the employees of the Ministry of Energy.

“The production will contribute significantly to supplying the needs of the local sector and to uphold Israel’s international commitments.”

The London-headquartered energy firm will use its floating production storage offloading (FPSO) for exploration at the offshore Karish gas field.

The Energean Power FPSO, which is already in Israel since this June, has a gas treatment capacity of 800MMscf/day (8bcm/y) and an 800,000bbl liquid storage capacity.

The FPSO will connect to the Karish reservoir and additional reservoirs in the region and is expected to supply as much as 50% of the domestic natural gas demand in Israel.

Yosef said: “The many efforts put in by the ministry’s engineers and Energean engineers have borne fruit, as production can officially be started. In the coming days, the running-in processes and professional tests will be completed in order to enable regular and continuous production for the Israeli market.”

Gas production from the Karish field will be supplied to the Energean Power FPSO located 90km offshore where it will be processed and separated.

The treated gas will later be delivered to the land-based system at the Dor Station from an underwater pipeline, prior to entering the national pipeline on its way to distribution companies and end consumers.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The production of natural gas from the Karish platform bolsters Israel’s energy security, enhances our stature as energy exporters, strengthens Israel’s economy, and helps in grappling with the global energy crisis.”