An executive from one of the energy companies involved in the struggle over a new regulatory scheme has said that rewriting agreements already signed would destroy the natural gas industry’s future in Israel, Globes reported.
“We did not agree, and we will not agree, to contracts being reopened,” Binyamin (Bini) Zomer, Noble Energy Country Manager Israel, stated at public hearings on the gas issue. A proposal for new regulations currently pending before the Knesset has drawn strong opposition and the government has held back on a vote while it tries to assemble a majority to secure passage.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
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.”