Chamber of Commerce Exec: Gas Exports Good for Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -

U.S. Chamber of Commerce official Myron Brilliant has entered the debate in Israel over natural gas exports, hailing exports as a key to more jobs and a stronger economy, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

“I think there’s a good debate going on in the government – a healthy debate on how to maximize the gas finds and how to strengthen the domestic economy and have a supply that provides energy security for 30 to 50 years, combined with the reality that there could be an abundance of gas that could be exported,” said Brilliant, executive vice president and head of International Affairs of the Chamber of Commerce.

Brilliant was in Israel this week, where he met with government officials to promote bilateral cooperation on Israel’s emerging hydrocarbon industry.

In order to develop the relationship, however, Israel must establish a stable and judicious policy for handling its gas, both at home and in its export capacity, he wrote in a 12-page memorandum to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Brilliant urged a fully supported export program that would dispel uncertainty, as an unstable program could “paralyze energy sector activity” and discourage investors, the memo said.

To bolster confidence, Israel must also be able to guarantee customers uninterrupted gas flows by accumulating reserves in gas reception terminals, so that backups exist in the event that a terminal fails.

Revamping the archaic Petroleum Law of 1952 is imperative, he said, along with trimming back the plethora of regulatory bodies and regulations that investors and stakeholders currently have to contend with.

The memo was well-received and widely distributed among different ministers and government officials, Brilliant noted on Monday.

Addressing opposition from environmental organizations over the possibility of the country exporting up to half of its natural gas resources if recommendations from the Zemach Committee are approved, Brilliant said he is aware of the concerns, but that “an export policy that gives some regulatory clarity” can only serve to benefit the country.