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Israel: Antitrust Authority avoiding court in negotiations

 |  January 13, 2015

Tuesday, at the annual Antitrust Authority meeting, regulator head David Gilo reaffirmed his decision to liquidate the natural gas monopoly that Delek Group and Noble Energy are enjoying. Delek Group and Noble Energy had previously agreed to divest certain assets to firms entering the market

Gilo said the Antitrust Authority is not intervening because the monopoly merely exists, but rather “We’re intervening against the monopoly because of the allegation that the monopoly was obtained through an alleged agreement in restraint of trade made by the parties.” Gilo said that the legislator requires the Antitrust Authority to first check with the alleged violators to see if they will follow the settlement. If an agreement is reached, then the plan is open for public criticism and comment after which it is studied and if deemed suitable it is finally submitted for court approval. Gilo further stated that after evaluating public comments on the previous settlement draft, the Antitrust Authority decided the previous draft was an insufficient solution.

The previous draft allowed the companies to keep both of the major reservoirs and sell the two smaller ones. The Antitrust Authority is avoiding taking the allegations to court due to the threat from Delek and Noble to not develop the Leviathan reservoir if any legal proceedings occur. The Leviathan reservoir is one of two reservoirs containing 90 percent of Israel’s natural gas reserves and both are under Delek and Noble control.

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