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Israel: Gas declared a security issue to end regulatory standoff

 |  June 25, 2015

Top Israeli ministers declared the rapid development of the country’s natural gas resources a national security interest, in an attempt to end an antitrust dispute that has held up production.

The action taken Thursday by ministers with security responsibilities overrode the antitrust authority’s objection to a contested gas policy. The full cabinet will be asked to approve the decision, and then the proposed gas policy will be open to public discussion, according to a text message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

“There is paramount importance to the swift development and expansion of the national gas fields discovered off Israel’s shores on security and diplomatic grounds,” the message read.

Israel’s failure to draft a coherent gas strategy six years after it discovered large offshore reserves has held up development of the Leviathan field, held primarily by Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. and Israel’s Delek Group Ltd. It has also complicated export deals and antagonized investors. Critics of the proposed policy — including antitrust commissioner David Gilo who resigned in protest.

Full content: The Jerusalem Post

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