Sources inform ''Globes'' that the Ministry of National Infrastructures recently granted IDT Corp. (NYSE: IDT)IEI a license to produce oil from oil shale from a 238,000 square meter tract of land between Kiryat Gat and Bet Shemesh.
The seven-year license was approved by Natural Resources Licensing Administration Petroleum and Mining commissioner Dr. Yaakov Mimran. IDT is a communications services company, controlled by founder Howard Jones.
This will IDT's first venture in energy in Israel after many years of activity in the call center outsourcing business. IDT, founded in 1990, employs 2,400 people and had an annual turnover of $3 billion at its peak. The last two years have seen a sharp downturn in the company's business as a result of which it is seeking to expand into alternative energy. IDT ended 2007 with turnover of $1.9 billion. In early August, it sold its activity in Israel to IDT Global Israel CEO Eli Ninio in a deal believed to have totaled tens of millions of dollars.
Oil shale is considered by the Ministry of National Infrastructures as an alternative source of energy to oil. Israel is known to have 15 billion in proven reserves of oil shale, most of it in the northern Negev.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 9, 2008
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