Italian Company May Pull Out of Israeli Gas Fields

YERUSHALAYIM -

The prevailing uncertainty in the regulation of the natural gas industry may result in the withdrawal of Italian energy company Edison from exploration in Israel, Globes reported on Thursday.

Edison, a subsidiary of EDF, France’s national energy corporation, and ranked as a major drilling operator, was a candidate to buy the Karish and Tanin reservoirs. Edison is also the operator for the Neta and Royee reservoirs.

However, the decision of Antitrust Authority director general Prof. David Gilo to break up the holdings of Noble Energy and Delek Group in Israel’s offshore gas fields has given rise to doubts at Edison, which is considering suspension of operations.

Gilo has been meeting with Noble and Delek representatives to work out an agreement that would obviate a protracted and damaging legal battle, but so far without success. In the meantime, drilling in the Leviathan field has been brought to a halt.

Sources said Edison is prepared to wait a few months to see if there is a satisfactory regulatory solution; if not,  it will take its drilling rigs elsewhere.