Trans-Israel Oil Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Trans-Israel Oil Pipeline, also known as the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline, is an operating oil pipeline in Israel.[1]


The pipeline runs from Eliat Port to Ashkelon Port, Israel.[2]

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Project Details

  • Operator: Europe Asia Pipeline Company Ltd. (EAPC)[1]
  • Owner: Europe Asia Pipeline Company Ltd. (EAPC)[1]
  • Parent company: Europe Asia Pipeline Company Ltd. (EAPC)
  • Capacity: 400,000 barrels per day in one direction, 1,200,000 barrels per day in the reverse direction[3][2]
  • Length: 254 km[2]
  • Diameter: 42 in[2]
  • Status: Operating[2]
  • Start year: 1968[2]
  • Cost:
  • Financing:
  • Associated infrastructure:


Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company Ltd. operates a land bridge/crude oil pipeline system for transporting crude oil from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. It also provides long term terminal storage and crude oil blending services; and infrastructure services for liquefied petroleum gas, fuel oil products, natural gas, and coal, as well as for distillates, such as gasoline, jet fuels, and gasoil. In addition, the company operates oil ports and terminals. Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company Ltd. was founded in 1968 and is based in Ashkelon, Israel[4]

The pipeline, which was built in 1968, transported oil from Iran via the port at Eilat at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba up through the pipeline to Ashkelon. Iran halted the use of the pipeline after the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979.[5] Israel subsequently appropriated the pipeline, which lead to a legal battle between Israel and Iran that was only recently settled in 2016[6]

In 2003, Israel and Russia agreed to supply Asian markets with Russian oil. Tankers would deliver oil from Novorossiysk to Ashkelon and then would transport it to Eilat via the Trans-Israel Pipeline. Oil would then be delivered throughout Asia from the port at Eilat by tankers. The agreement would effectively reverse the pipeline from its original role, which was to transport oil from Iran to markets in Europe.[5]

Technical Details

The Trans-Israel pipeline consists of a 42 inch diameter pipeline measuring 254 kilometers, stretching from Red Sea at Eilat to the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Ashkelon. The pipeline reportedly maintains a capacity of 400,000 barrels (64,000 m3) per day, and 1.2 million barrels per day (190,000 m3/d) in the opposite direction.[7] In 2003, the Eilat Ashkelon pipeline company completed a reverse flow project, allowing the pipeline to transport oil from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. The transformation effectively transforms the pipeline into a bidirectional line. The alteration provides alternative transportation of oil to the Suez Canal and the route around Africa.[8]


1975 Spill

In 1975, over 2 million gallons of oil spilled from the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, further South than the spill that would occur in 2014.[9] The spill was twice the size of the 2014 spill. Studies have shown that even 40 years after the spill, effects from its contamination are still lingering in the precarious desert ecosystem.[10]

2014 Spill

In 2014, a rupture occurred on a portion of the Trans-Israel pipeline undergoing maintenance at the time. Workers were attempting to move the pipe for an airport construction project when the pipeline exploded.[11] The spill was located about 18 kilometers north of Eilat. According to ecologists, the spill which devastated the Evrona desert reserve will take years to clean up and threatened to contaminate both the Red Sea and neighboring Jordan. It was the worst spill in Israel's 66 year history.[12]

The spill amounted to 1.3 million gallons (5 million liters) of oil, potentially contaminating hundreds of Acacia trees which are a lifeline for many animals in the fragile desert ecosystem. The extremely arid desert only sustains life due to its groundwater which derives from yearly flash floods. The water collects at the center of the desert, where most of the Acacia tress grow; it is the exact spot where the oil traveled, worrying scientists and ecologists of possible severe contamination.[13]


A week after the massive oil spill, an Eilat resident filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all residents of Eilat against the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC). The class action lawsuit, which was brought forward by Lisa Mellish, amounted to 380 million shekel ($95.4 million). $50.2 million would be allocated to the rehabilitation of the Arava region and $45.2 million would go towards residents affected by the spill. Lisa Mellish's lawyer, David Mena, stated that EAPC's protection by the State of Israel under a legal confidentiality agreement dating back to 1968 for national security reasons would no longer be able to shield the company from scrutiny. EAPC has defended itself saying that all preventative measures were put in place, but failed.[14]


In 2016, the Israeli government appealed to the secrecy clause to place a gag order on one of the class action lawsuits brought forward by affected communities. The secrecy clause has made critical information on the pipeline company's potential negligence difficult to come by. An even bigger problem is the secrecy clause may have even exempted the company from following various environmental and safety regulations in the first place, making an accident even more likely. According to several accounts, the construction work which spurred the rupture was quite poor. It is still to be determined whether or not anyone from the company, or the company itself, will be held liable for the spill due to the secrecy agreement.[15]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Trans-Israel Oil Pipeline, Wikipedia, accessed September 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "PIPELINES".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Trans-Israel pipeline Wikipedia, accessed July 2019
  4. Company Overview of Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company Ltd., Bloomberg, accessed October 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 Trans-Israel pipeline, Revolvy, accessed October 2017
  6. Swiss court orders Israel to pay up for Iranian oil, The Times of Israel August 8, 2016
  7. Trans-Israel pipeline Wikipedia, accessed July 2019
  8. Reverse Flow Project, EAPC, accessed October 2017
  9. Zafrir Rinat, Israel's Environment Ministry to Demand $28.8 Million for Oil-spill Damages, Haaretz, May 13, 2015
  10. The Effect of Petroleum Hydrocarbons on Seed Germination, Development, and Survival of Wild and Cultivated Plants in Extreme Desert Soil, International Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Research, ISSN: 2455-6939, Volume:02, Issue:06, 2016
  11. Aqaba spill dumps 200 tons of crude oil into Red Sea, The Times of Israel, August 24, 2016
  12. Israel's Worst-Ever Oil Spill Could Damage Environment for Years, Reuters, December 10,2012
  13. William Booth, Oil spill in Israel’s Evrona Nature Reserve is disastrous news for a precious resource, The Washington Post, December 17, 2004
  14. Tova Dvorin Suit Filed Against Pipeline Company for 'Environmental Disaster', Arutz Sheva, July 12, 2014
  15. John Reed, "Israel: Oil secrets to spill", Financial Times, January 26, 2016

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