Minister of Energy Israel Katz has reacted harshly to the letter sent last week by Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on increasing gas exports. In his letter Smotrich stressed that Israel must protect its energy independence while working towards increasing gas exports. Katz complained about systematic conduct by the Ministry of Finance, after about a month ago Ministry of Finance budget division head Yogev Gardos presented a similar position on this issue.
Katz wrote to Smotrich, "This is not the first time recently that I have learned from the media about the positions of the people of your office regarding gas exports, which is under the exclusive authority of my office, and I believe that in this conduct there is an attempt to prevent us from being able to promote initiatives and make decisions in the near future on the issue of gas exports, which is of enormous importance to Israel, the Israeli economy and promoting the State of Israel's foreign relations."
"Globes" reported last week that Katz plans to increase gas exports. In his letter to Smotrich he stressed that he plans taking care of the interests of the State of Israel and its citizens. He wrote, "I am well aware of the fact that the issue of the development of the natural gas sector is a weighty issue both from a political and economic and social point of view. For this reason, several months ago I instructed the director general of my ministry to lead, together with the officials in the ministry, a comprehensive study on possibilities for expanding the volume of natural gas production and a possible increase in natural gas exports from Israel, while ensuring the required supply to the domestic market."
Forming an overall policy for Israel's natural gas sector
Katz also related to Smotrich's involvement in convening the committee for examining natural gas policy. Katz wrote, "The role of the committee will be to form overall policy in the field of natural gas and discuss export policy for new reserves that will be discovered and not in setting the policy and making decisions in the field of exports in relation to the existing reserves, which are under the authority of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure."
Katz concluded, "This is a moment of opportunity and we have the possibility to lead to the strengthening of the political status of the State of Israel, in the region and in the world, alongside securing large sources of income for the Israeli economy and securing economic stability for the coming decades. I intend to take advantage of the power and authority given to me by my position to determine Israel's gas export policy, while taking care of the domestic economy, weighing the geopolitical issues and maintaining the right balance between the national and economic interests of the citizens of the State of Israel from the long-term perspective."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 31, 2023.
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