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September 15, 2014 / 20 Elul, 5774
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Former Chief of Staff’s Oil Well a Colossal Flop

Not all that glitters is gold and not all that smells like oil is money. Israel has become an oil and gas producer, but one oil well, run by a firm whose CEO is ex-Chief of Staff Ashkenazi, is a bust.
'Tamar'  gas rig off Israel's northern coast.

'Tamar' gas rig off Israel's northern coast.
Photo Credit: Nobel Energy/Flash 90

Investors are screaming their heads off at Shemen Oil Co. and its CEO, former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, after the company announced Monday that its Yam 3 oil well, off the Ashdod coast, is dry, despite indications a month ago it would reap a bonanza.

A final report will not be known until the equipment is taken out of the bore hole, leaving a “small chance that there was a breakdown in the production tests in the upper sections of the borehole,” Shemen stated.

The company said in September that there were signs of high quality oil in the well, into which was poured $175 million of investors’ money.

The company’s stock plunged 90 percent on Monday, prompting several investors to demand a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange investigation into the possibility that the announcement in September was made in order to allow insiders to sell their holdings at a profit, at the expense of an unknowing public.

In any case, Ashkenazi is not a big loser. He received salary of more than $1.5 million the past two years as Shemen CEO, not including high-class travel and four-star hotels, all at the expense of the company.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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