Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing a compromise arrangement for the Israeli gas industry at today’s cabinet meeting. “I’m determined to bring gas to the Israeli economy. That will lower the electricity’s price.” Netanyahu said the cabinet would discuss a national gas plan this week.
The issue has come to the forefront of Israel’s economic policy after anti-trust commissioner David Gilo said he would resign in August to protest at a lack of competition in the gas sector.
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There was also controversy over how Moshe Kahlon, former Likud member and leader of the new Kulanu Party, went back on his campaign promise to do something about the problems with the offshore gas monopoly in Israel.
Netanyahu said, “We won’t fall into the same trap that many countries did when they quarreled interminably about the matter, while the gas stayed under the ground. That won’t happen here. We have been delayed for years, and it’s possible to miss the bus – but that won’t happen. We have to make decisions.”
Netanyahu continued, “even in the face of demagogic attacks – they don’t move me. I’ve brought enough reforms to the Israeli economy that were demagogically attacked, and whose value has now been proven. Israel has passed many European countries in per capita GDP, standard of living, and a lot of other things. That’s how it will be with the gas.”
“Any delay in making a decision will jeopardize our ability to benefit from this natural resource; I’m determined to push a practical solution forward. The plan we’re bringing ensures a competitive price and prevents price gouging. The private companies should know that we won’t compromise on all the rights due to the state from its natural resources. This is a correct balance, it’s a necessary balance, and it’s the balance that we’ll carry out as quickly as possible.”
Partner in the Leviathan reservoir are: Delek Group, Noble Energy, and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L). Delek Group and Noble Energy purchase 85% of the rights in the Leviathan reservoir from Ratio Oil.