As Israel prepares to move forward with a compromise deal over its natural gas reserves, a website claims that U.S. Secratary of State Kerry held stocks in a key monopoly partner. Kerry had in the past pressured Israeli PM Netanyahu to resolve the gas dispute, reported Haaretz.
The opensecrets.org report raises concerns regarding Kerry’s involvement in the Israeli gas market as an American official. Kerry has in the past pushed Israeli officials for resolving the dispute over the ownership of Israel’s natural gas resources, and reportedly worked to help broker an export deal between Israel’s Leviathan gas field and Jordan and Egypt.
On January 2015 Israel’s antitrust commissioner called on the state to back out of the compromise deal with the energy companies, Kerry called Netanyahu and reportedly told the prime minister that “It is important for all countries to have a strong investment climate, including a consistent and predictable regulatory framework.”, Haaretz says.
State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke explained U.S. policy: “We continue to engage and we support all parties to move forward with the natural gas deal signed between Noble Energy and entities in Jordan and Egypt… We strongly believe that these deals would enhance energy security in the region.”
Noble and Delek, which are operating drilling operations in Israel’s deep-sea gas reserves, are expected to remain a monopoly even after a comprise was reached between the government and the firms’ private owners after the latter threatened to take Israel to court for backtracking on its commitments.
According to the Open Secrets website, as of 2013, Kerry held $501, 002 to $1, 015, 000 in Noble Energy stocks.
The secretary of state also held stocks in 23 other energy firms
In an interview for the American Gas, the magazine published by the American Gas Association (AGA), Sen. John Kerry was candidate for presidency in 2004.
He said he would “support immediate steps to increase natural gas supplies and improve natural gas infrastructure, ” such as construction of a pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope to the lower 48 states, he said
“A Kerry administration will support immediate steps to increase natural gas supplies and improve natural gas infrastructure, and seek near-term commercialization of advanced clean coal and other alternative energy sources that will relieve energy costs on American business, ” he said.
Kerry said, “The U.S. natural gas industry has made impressive strides in improving drilling techniques and in protecting the environment.” He said
additional oil and natural gas development should be prioritized around lands that are already open to drilling, but which have not been developed — both onshore and offshore. Kerry said he supports continued natural gas development in the western Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana and Texas, but said he would maintain the ban on drilling in offshore California and along the Eastern seaboard, and that he would not open up new areas off the coast of Florida to oil and natural gas production.
He spelled out a six point plan to increase natural gas supplies in order
to relieve the pressure on natural gas prices:
1. “I would enter into a new North American Energy Partnership with our neighbors to the north in Canada and to the south in Mexico to expand the supply of natural gas.”
2. “I would move as quickly as possible to construct a pipeline to bring the 35 trillion cubic feet of known natural gas reserves on the North Slope of Alaska to the lower 48 states.”
3. “I would support enhancement of the domestic natural gas pipeline infrastructure to provide sufficient transportation networks for this fuel.”
4. “I would support development of advanced technologies that can allow us to use natural gas more efficiently.”
5. “I would support environmentally responsible exploration in the lower 48 and in already-approved areas in the western Gulf of Mexico, including deep water.”
6. “Finally, I would ensure appropriate and adequate enforcement of the market so that it operates in a lawful, transparent and fair manner.”
Kerry said he supports importing natural gas by ship in a condensed form known as liquefied natural gas (LNG). “We must work to find technology applications that make LNG more readily available and protect surrounding communities from unnecessary risks. This source of potential new natural gas supply presents challenges — both as to source, since it must be imported, and its required infrastructure. If done properly, however, LNG can be part of a balanced energy portfolio for the United States’ energy future, ” he said.