"Noble Energy agreed to make large and painful concessions at the behest of the Israeli government because we believe that the gas framework creates certainty and makes it possible to proceed with developing the reservoirs without further delays," Binyamin (Bini) Zomer, Noble Energy Country Manager Israel, said in the hearing on the gas framework agreement last week.
"We believe that it would be a fundamental mistake to change the agreement in any way that would upset the balance it achieves," Zomer added, "Ever since the agreement was made public, some of the discussion in the media and in the Knesset has not been based on fact. Noble Energy has not breached the Restrictive Trade practices Law and has not harmed competition in Israel. We received all our rights lawfully."
Zomer went on to say, "The agreement that has been presented is the only way of securing the common interests of the government of Israel and the people of Israel, and also of the developers. Rapid development of Leviathan and rapid expansion of Tamar are goals common to both sides." To these interests, Zomer added "a fair price for the Israeli consumer and bringing in a competitor to Tamar" and said that the agreement ensured that both these aims would be realized.
"We did not agree, and we will not agree, to contracts being reopened," Zomer declared, adding, "That is unthinkable. In the Yam Tethys project we agreed to dumping prices and did not raise them because we were committed to that in the agreement. We did not ask for contracts to be reopened when world gas prices were rising. Reopening contracts will put Israel on the list of countries in which companies do not invest and will endanger the financing both of Leviathan and of Tamar."
Asked by Deputy Head of the National Economic Council Morris Dorfman, "What will happen if the agreement is not approved?", Zomer responded, "We will not be able to proceed with investing in developing the resources, and I think that that would be a pity."
Asked by Constantine Blyuz, deputy director for economic and strategic matters at the Natural Gas Authority, how it was possible to know that development of the Leviathan reservoir would proceed if the agreement was approved, Zomer said, "The target set in the agreement is very ambitious, but if there is one thing we know how to do, it's to complete projects on time and within budget. As soon as we have regulatory stability, we will quickly close contracts and financing, enabling us to develop the project as fast as possible."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 26, 2015
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