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每日跟讀#672: Israel’s Energy Dilemma: More Natural Gas Than It Can Use or Export

天然氣供過於求 以色列陷兩難

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日跟讀#672: Israel’s Energy Dilemma: More Natural Gas Than It Can Use or Export

For decades, Israel was an energy-starved country surrounded by hostile, oil-rich neighbors.

數十年來,以色列一直是能源緊缺的國家,被敵對且富藏石油的鄰國環繞。

Now it has a different problem. Thanks to major offshore discoveries over the past decade, it has more natural gas than it can use or readily export.

如今,以色列面對的問題已然不同。由於過去十年來以色列在近海發現大量天然氣,以色列擁有的天然氣已比國內用量和願意出口的份量還多。

Having plenty of gas is hardly a burden, and it offers a cleaner-burning alternative to Israel’s longtime power sources. But it presents challenges for a country that wants to extract geopolitical and economic benefits from a rare energy windfall, including building better relations with its neighbors and Europe.

天然氣儲量豐富難說是個負擔,而且讓以色列在依靠已久的電力來源之外,多了一個更乾淨的燃氣選項。不過,擁有大量天然氣也對以色列構成挑戰,以色列想藉由這罕見的意外發現的能源,獲取地緣政治和經濟利益,包括與鄰國和歐洲改善關係。

Part of the problem is timing. Just as Israel prepares to produce and export large amounts of gas, the United States, Australia, Qatar and Russia are flooding the market with cheap gas. The other is math: Israel’s 8.5 million people use in a year less than 1% of the gas that has been found in the country’s waters.

問題之一是時機。就在以色列準備生產大量天然氣並出口時,美國、澳洲、卡達和俄國都把廉價天然氣傾銷到市場上。另一個問題是供需,以色列人口850萬,一年用掉的份量不到海域已探明儲量的1%。

“We have a surplus of gas,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview. “Israeli waters are swimming in gas, and what we have discovered is only the beginning.”

以色列能源部長史坦尼茲受訪時說:「我們有多餘的天然氣,以色列海域滿是天然氣,而且我們探明的只是一小部分。」

Noble Energy, a Houston-based company that made its first discovery of gas in Israel in 1999, has found more than 30 trillion cubic feet of gas off the country’s coast over the past decade. Some experts say new discoveries could double that.

諾伯爾能源公司總部設在美國德州休士頓,1999年發現以色列的天然氣,是這家公司首次,過去十年來在以色列近海發現的天然氣超過30兆立方英尺。一些專家說,接下來發現的量可能兩倍於此。

As a result, Israel is phasing out diesel and coal-fired electricity, replacing it mostly with gas-fired generation and some solar power. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet is considering banning the import of gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2030 and gradually switching to vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas or electricity.

自然而然,以色列逐步淘汰燃燒柴油與燃煤發電,取而代之的主要是燃氣發電,還有一些太陽能。總理內唐亞胡內閣考慮從2030年起,禁止進口汽油與柴油車,並逐步改用壓縮天然氣汽車或電動車。

Israel is also stepping up exports to neighbors like Jordan and Egypt. There are even plans to supply gas to a power plant in the West Bank for Palestinian customers.

以色列還加強把天然氣出口到約旦和埃及等鄰國,甚至打算把天然氣供應給約旦河西岸一家發電廠,讓巴勒斯坦客戶使用。

Yet these efforts will make only a dent in the country’s reserves.

不過,這些舉動對解決以色列天然氣儲量豐富的問題只略有幫助。

“We want to export,” said Jacob Nagel, former head of Israel’s National Security Council. “The question is: How much will it cost? Is it possible? How much time will it take?”

以色列國家安全會議前主席內格爾說:「我們是想把天然氣出口,問題是,成本有多高?可行嗎?要花多少時間?」

For decades, Israel depended on Russia and other sources for fuel, while its industries and homes relied on coal and oil power plants that blanketed its cities with smog.

數十年來,以色列靠俄國等國家取得能源,工業和民生用電則仰賴燃煤和燃油,使城市煙霧彌漫。

The switch to gas has helped clear the air in cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa that have converted diesel-fueled plants.Israel’s biggest coal plant — in Hadera, a coastal city — will be converted over the next three years, cutting national coal consumption by 30%. Officials say they expect to eliminate coal use in 11 years.

改用天然氣使特拉維夫、海法等城市空氣變得清新。特拉維夫和海法已將柴油火力發電廠轉換成燃氣電廠。以色列最大燃煤電廠在濱海城市哈德拉,將在三年內轉換為燃氣電廠,能使全國煤炭消耗量減少三成。官員說,希望能在11年內淘汰煤電。

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/343671/web/#2L-15341939L

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