Israel’s Energy and Water Ministry has announced that natural gas has started flowing from the Tamar field, from an offshore rig in the Mediterranean Sea, Israel, following four years of anticipation.

The gas from the reservoir will start to gather at the receiving station in Ashdod within 24 hours from its departure from the rig, reported The Jerusalem Post.

Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom welcoming the development said it is a day of energy independence for Israel.

"This breakthrough is the first signal for additional private companies to partake in the energy independence of the State of Israel," Shalom added.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was quoted by the publication as saying, "The flow of gas from the Tamar reservoir has commenced. This is an important day for the Israeli economy."

Discovered in 2009, the Tamar reservoir is estimated to contain about 250 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

The Tamar production platform is about 290m and weighs nearly 34,000t, including the rig’s legs.

The Tamar rig is located about 90km west of Haifa, while a 150km long pipeline of around 45 centimetres in diameter connects it to the Ashdod reception facility along the seabed.