No progress in talks on Israel gas agreement


Noble Energy senior executives visited Israel last week, but reportedly returned home disappointed.

Efforts to solve the imbroglio in the natural gas agreement are continuing. Sources inform "Globes" that Noble Energy SVP Eastern Mediterranean Region Keith Elliot and Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary Arnold Johnson visited Israel last week. Together with Delek Drilling Limited Partnership (TASE: DEDR.L) senior executives , including CEO Yossi Abu, a number of meetings were held with Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz and other professional echelon officials, including from the Ministry of Justice.

A source close to the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources professional team considering the alternatives to the stability clause told "Globes," "Noble Energy came to Israel to find a fairly quick solution, but the situation is more complicated." A senior source in one of the gas companies confirmed that no progress had been made, and that the senior Noble Energy executives had returned to Houston "rather disappointed."

At the meetings, the parties discussed various options for ensuring regulatory stability for the gas companies. Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that its approval of the gas plan was contingent on a change in the agreement's stability clause. Four of the five justices ruled that the clause was illegal and void, and must be reformulated and anchored in Knesset legislation, not a cabinet resolution.

Possibilities discussed at the meetings included the granting guarantees to the gas companies, or to the banks providing financing, among other things through refining the stability clause or a safety net. Other options lie in the legal sphere, such as formulating a general law including stability for the gas companies or specific amendments, such as in the Petroleum Law.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on April 17, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

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