Netanyahu to intervene on gas royalties

The prime minister reminded Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz that the government will set the final policy on royalties.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will intervene in the natural gas royalties issue, at the demand of Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau. The first meeting on the subject is scheduled for January 5, 2011.

"Globes" obtained a copy of a letter that Netanyahu sent to Landau and Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz, in which he reiterated the demand that the Sheshinski committee stick to its original timetable. The committee is due to submit its recommendations by December 31.

Netanyahu asked Landau to expedite the "decision-making procedures in order to ensure a continuous and steady supply of natural gas to the economy." He adds, "On this point, I request adherence to the timetable for the committee to complete its work, and that the work of the subcommittee on the Tamar gas field be completed at the same time as the work on committee's recommendations."

Netanyahu concludes by reminding Steinitz that the government is the body that will set the final policy on the royalties. "The cabinet will discuss the issue as soon as possible, in order to formulate its policy."

Landau and Steinitz will probably attend the January 5 meeting, along with Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer in his capacity as economic advisor to the government as set out in the new Bank of Israel Law.

Representatives of oil and gas exploration and other energy companies are also expected to appear, including Yitzhak Tshuva, who has a stake in Tamar and Leviathan through Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG), and East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG) shareholder Yosef Maiman, and executives from Tamar and Leviathan partner Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL).

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 14, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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