JERUSALEM, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Israel's Energy Ministry has limited production at the new Leviathan natural gas field to 60% after a malfunction was discovered in the project's subsea pipeline.
There was no immediate comment from the partners in Leviathan, which just last month began selling gas to Egypt and Jordan. It had been producing at around 65% of its capacity during the initial operation period, according to industry officials.
The Energy Ministry said in a statement on Thursday it informed the project operator, Texas-based Noble Energy, that production must not rise above 60% until an investigation is completed.
The problem was found by an underwater robot that detected vibrations along pipelines near the well's drill sites, the ministry said. There have been no leaks or damage.
"Continued operations will be determined by rigorous engineering examinations currently underway," the ministry said.
Noble's partners in the project are Israel's Delek Drilling and Ratio Oil. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)