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Natural gas from new Israeli fields begins flowing

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Natural gas has started flowing from one of Israel's sizable gas fields.

Israel's Energy Ministry says gas from the offshore Tamar field began flowing for the first time Saturday and would reach a processing facility on Israel's coast by Sunday afternoon.

Tamar was discovered in 2009 and holds an estimated 8.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. Another field, known as Leviathan, is estimated to hold some 16 trillion cubic feet and is expected to go online in 2016.

Israel has long relied on imports to meet most of its energy needs. The new gas finds are expected to supply Israel's domestic needs for decades and could transform the country into an energy exporter.