JERUSALEM, July 22 (Reuters) – Israel’s largest refining and petrochemicals group, Oil Refineries (ORL.TA), on Thursday announced it would invest $ 1.5 billion to become a more energy company clean as it faces government pressure to shut down more polluting factories.
Israel has offered to close a large industrial zone in the coastal city of Haifa which health officials say has been dangerous for years and transform it into an environmentally friendly shopping and residential center.
The country would in turn depend more on imports. No final decision has been taken. Read more
The Haifa-based oil refineries, which control about two-thirds of the national fuel market, opposed it. But the company’s new 10-year plan appears to align it more with the government’s vision.
In the plan presented to investors and analysts, oil refineries said they would focus on green hydrogen and alternative fuels for transportation, advanced recycled and biodegradable polymers and biopolymers.
At least $ 400 million will be invested in “new growth engines” and the rest will be used to “improve and adapt existing assets, assimilating cutting-edge technologies to create and reduce the carbon footprint,” he said. declared.
Haifa, Israel’s third largest city and a key seaport, juts out off the coast into the eastern Mediterranean and has over the past century become a hub for trade and industry.
The city, in turn, has high levels of air pollution and residents suffer from an “excess” of diseases related to air pollution such as respiratory diseases, malignant tumors and birth defects. , according to a recent report by a government panel.
The panel found that Haifa had become “stagnant” with low population growth and recommended the phasing out within a decade of a number of factories, including those owned by oil refineries, which supply much of the oil. of the country’s petroleum and petrochemicals used in materials like plastics and asphalt.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Steven Scheer and Elaine Hardcastle
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