Approval of Israel's natural gas roadmap will not be brought to the Knesset before the summer recess. In talks late last night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz decided that the matter would not be discussed at tomorrow's cabinet meeting, as previously planned.
During the discussions, Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht recommended that approval of the outline arrangements for the gas industry be postponed because the time frame was too short to reach agreement on such a complex issue and time must be allowed for "an orderly process for government discussion and approval."
Sources close to the subject expressed amazement before the meeting in the Prime Minister's office as to how agreement could be reached on all the issues that were still open before Wednesday's cabinet session.
The Knesset breaks for the summer recess Wednesday night and so it is unclear when the subject can be brought to the vote with the winter session not starting until October. It is possible that a special session could be convened for the matter.
During last night's discussions, participants included Ministry of Finance director general Shai Babad, budgetary division head Amir Levy, National Economic Council head Eugene Kandel, Israel National Gas Authority head Alexander Varshavsky, Ministry of the economy director general Amit Lang, and Licht. Discussions revolved around attempts to change the natural gas roadmap in a way that would bring down gas prices as well as other alterations. In the coming few days, Netanyahu and Steinitz will meet with representatives of Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) and Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) in order to reach agreement with them.
Postponing approval of the natural gas outline agreement has allowed Netanyahu to fly to Cyprus this morning for a couple of hours to talk with the Cypriot Energy Minister about cooperation over the Aphrodite (Block 12) gas field, which borders Leviathan but is in Cypriot economic waters.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 28, 2015
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