Together with the minutes of the discussions on the agreement between the State of Israel and gas companies published yesterday, a list of 18 appendices was published, including an appendix presented by Noble Energy (NBL) to the team led by National Economic Council chairman Eugene Kandel on the subject of separate marketing of natural gas. The appendix indicates that separate marketing works only in economies with a large number of customers and suppliers, such as the US, the UK, and Canada. Noble Energy also presented the conclusions of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which said that separate marketing in the country was impossible. Noble Energy pointed out that New Zealand had reached a similar conclusion.
Binyamin (Bini) Zomer, Noble Energy Country Manager Israel, told the government, "Let's make it clear. We didn't break the law, and we didn't prevent competition. What we did do was to succeed beyond the expectations of the government that invited us to invest in Israel. Israel was happy, it seems, for Noble Energy to risk its money in Israel, as long as it was unsuccessful. There is a monopoly - that's not a crime. Let's understand why this happened. The company agreed to invest its money where other companies refused (and we won't apologize for that); the supply of gas from Egypt ended in 2011 (and that was not our fault); other companies with no experience found no gas (again, not our fault); and the incessant interference by regulators with no background in oil and gas drove every gas company away, except for Noble Energy."
Zomer went on to provide details of the regulatory delay, which continued even after an agreed order was signed with the Antitrust Commissioner last March. "If you thought that Noble Energy and its partners were sitting idly while all this happened, let us disabuse you of this notion," Zomer said, "We invested $25 million each month in making progress in the Leviathan project." Zomer concluded by saying, "We'll be willing to discuss any proposals you make to solve the issues. What we aren't willing to do is anything relating to the sale of Tamar or Leviathan."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 1, 2015
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015