Infrastructures Ministry threatens to split Sheshinski c'tee

A dissenting opinion could pave the way to legal action by Tamar investors.

The Sheshinski committee is due to publish its final report tomorrow, although the timing was not yet settled by web-posting. Meanwhile, a last-minute struggle has been taking place between Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau and Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz over whether to exclude the Tamar gas field from the recommendations.

Official government sources told "Globes" that the report distributed among the Sheshinski committee members does not at present exclude Tamar. The committee will reportedly propose several relaxations for reservoirs that were developed in the past few years. These relaxations presumably apply to Tamar as well as drillings that are fairly advanced, such as Givot Olam Oil Exploration LP (TASE:GIVO.L). Areas in which the committee may offer relaxations include broadening recognition of exploration expenses, and more rapid depreciation.

Landau has threatened that unless the Tamar project is fully excluded from the recommendations, the Ministry of National Infrastructures' two committee members -director general Shaul Tzemach and Petroleum Supervisor Dr. Yaakov Mimran - will append a minority opinion.

A minority opinion will make it more difficult for Steinitz to obtain government approval for the Sheshinski committee's recommendations, and may help the gas field developers, headed by Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) controlling shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva, to appeal against the recommendations in court.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 2, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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