Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz held a press conference in Jerusalem today about the agreements they have reached with the natural gas companies Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) and Noble Energy for the arrangements concerning the gas sector. The final agreement will be brought to the cabinet for approval on Sunday.
"The arrangements reached puts the Israeli economy and Israeli society in the center," Netanyahu said. "I thank Minister Steinitz and the negotiation team for the gas plan, which will earn hundreds of millions of shekels in revenue in the coming years. We will use this money for health, education, and welfare, and for lowering the cost of living. Gas energy is cheaper than other energy. It costs less to produce, so the prices will be lower. That will help industrial development and the development of outlying areas, and create new jobs. It will also help Israel's energy security and promote a cleaner environment, because gas energy is also cleaner.
"I said from the beginning that we would not surrender to demagoguery, and that we would get the gas out of the sea bottom. I will bring this plan to the cabinet on Sunday. I am confident that it will pass by a majority."
Netanyahu refused to answer questions from reporters at the press conference.
Steinitz: A delay of several years is insufferable
Steinitz spoke after Netanyahu. He said that the price of gas in the new contracts was expected to fall to $4.70 per mmbtu from the beginning of 2016, compared with $5.60 at present.
"From the day I became Energy Minister, I announced that I was making the gas plan a top priority," Steinitz said. "I stated we are paying tens of billions of shekels for the years of delay in the development of Tamar in the past and Leviathan now. Those delays have got to stop. The most important thing in this good gas plan is that after an unnecessary delay of several years, with the approval of the gas plan, we will begin moving forward with the development of Leviathan, the development of Karish and Tanin, elimination of the monopoly, and the development of addition oil and gas reservoirs waiting in the sea.
"Sometimes time is an important factor. When hundreds of billions of shekels and energy security are involved, and the gas discoveries can be leveraged to strengthen the peace axis and a real economic link to Egypt and Jordan, a delay of several years is insufferable. It is a tragedy. The inter-ministerial team worked every day, day and night, and I thank them. I also want to thank Prof. Eitan Sheshinski. He was my assistant, and helped me in whatever had to be done."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 13, 2015
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