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June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean’

New Legislation Would Free Up $1.5 Billion in Credit for Israeli Housing Starts

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Construction companies are no longer allowed to charge their customers fees for their own legal services, according to a key item in a new amendment to the Sales Law being promoted by the Ministry of Housing and Construction, Calcalist reported Thursday. Another significant change in the law would remove the requirement that contractors post a bank guarantee for the VAT portion of the cost of the apartment, and instead the state would set up a special fund to cover the buyers’ outlay. This would save contractors millions of dollars, releasing more than $1.5 billion in bank credit to the real estate market. The construction firm would still have to insure the rest of the buyer’s investment, in case said firm goes out of business.

The Housing Ministry, which began the move to amend the law nine months ago, is hoping the changes would pass by the end of the Knesset summer session in August. The move was spurred by the common understanding that the construction section of the current Sales Law is outdated, and has led real estate companies to develop their own ways of bypassing it, at the expense of their customers. The amendments were forged by an inter-office team that included Deputy Attorney General Erez Kamenetz, the Consumer Protection Authority, the Finance Ministry, and the Tax Authority.

“It is our responsibility to help the Israeli public get accessible housing, while legally protecting the buyers and maintaining fairness in all processes,” Minister of Housing Yoav Galant told Calcalist. One of the problems in the way housing business is done in Israel has to do with the buyer paying the contractor’s attorney for processing the new apartment at the Land Registry Office (the local word for the office is Tabu — no relation to taboos, the word is simply the Arabic mispronunciation of the Turkish word Tapu, or title-deed). A recent legislation limited the fees paid to said attorney to about $1,300, but even so, the clients may believe that by paying his fees the attorney is now working for them, which he certainly isn’t — he remains in the service of the contractor.

The Housing Ministry believes that registering the apartment and providing a legal deed is part of the overall product the contractor is expected to provide, and so they now want to go one step further and eliminate altogether the requirement for buyers to pay for this service.

There are other amendments which are not as crucial economically, but certainly add transparency to the process of buying an apartment in Israel. Companies would have to inform buyers of every change they intend to make in the original construction plan, for instance, if they want to add apartments. They also must inform buyers of changes in nearby lots, so that, if, for instance, their magical view of the Mediterranean would now be blocked by a 48-story tower, buyers would have the opportunity to get out of the deal and look elsewhere.

Contractors may no longer be permitted to sell apartments on land that is yet to be re-zoned for construction. If a plan for a new housing construction exists but the permit for building has yet to be issued, firms may sell units to buyers, but only with the proviso that the project is not yet legally authorized, providing the date for the expected authorization, and that buyers can get their money back in its entirety should the permit not be issued.

Also, any significant change in a purchased apartment’s layout, including in common areas such as storage spaces and lobbies, would be considered legally as failure to fulfill the contractor’s commitment and buyers may recoup their investment.

JNi.Media

EgyptAir Flight MS804 Disappears Over Mediterranean

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Egypt Air Flight MS804 en route to Cairo from Paris disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning.

The plane was an Airbus 320 manufactured in 2003. It went off the radar 10 minutes out of Egyptian airspace at 02:45 local time (CLT), as it was cruising at an altitude of approximately 37,000 feet.

The aircraft departed Charles de Gaulle airport at 23:09 CEST. Civil aviation officials in Egypt were quoted by Vice News as saying the aircraft ‘probably crashed into the sea.’ A French airport official who requested anonymity told Reuters, “It did not land. That is all we can say for the moment.”

Government officials in Greece are investigating a report by a merchant ship’s captain who said he saw “a flame in the sky” over the area in the Mediterranean in which the plane disappeared.

The pilot, identified as Captain Mohamed Shokeir, was highly experienced with more than 6,000 flight hours, according to the Al Ahram daily. The copilot had more than 2,000 flight hours.

At the time, the aircraft was carrying 56 passengers with three security personnel and seven cabin crew, Gulf Business.com reported. The passengers included 15 French nationals, 30 Egyptians, two Iraqis, one from the UK and a Canadian, as well as a Belgian, a Saudi, a Sudani, a Czech national, one Portuguese and an individual from Algiers.

Egyptian Army fighter jets and Greek ships are searching together for the missing EgyptAir plane, according to Al Ahram.

Hana Levi Julian

Noble Energy, Delek to Speed Up Israeli Gas Production at Leviathan

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

The developers of the mammoth Leviathan natural gas field filed an expanded development plan Wednesday with the Petroleum Supervisor at Israel’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources.

Texas-based Noble Energy Inc., Delek Group Ltd., and Delek Drilling LP now plan to speed up development to bring gas and condensates on stream by 2019, Globes reported.

There’s good reason to move as fast as possible: until the gas begins flowing, the cost of development is $5-6 billion. Still, the first estimate for what has become Israel’s largest infrastructure project was originally $6-7 billion.

Eight drilling sites are to be connected by an underground pipeline to the platform and rig where all the gas management systems will be installed. This platform will be linked to the coast by another pipeline to be built by the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company. From there, the gas will be sold to Israeli customers at home and exported to neighboring countries as well.

Production capacity will reach 21 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year in order to meet market demand. This is five bcm more than the original development plan, which capped at 16 bcm.

The annual pipeline capacity will only be 12 bcm; however there will be an additional outlet on the platform at sea, which could be used to export directly to a regional nation as needed. That outlet will also be able to handle a 12 bcm per year pipeline as well.

All the gas treatment which is to take place at sea, will be carried out in accordance with the national master plan that was approved by the relevant authorities.

Hana Levi Julian

New Israeli Gas Field Discovered, ‘Greatest Potential Since Leviathan’

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

ISRAMCO and Modiin Energy LP reported Sunday a new natural gas field has been discovered beneath the waves of the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Israel, with “the greatest potential since Leviathan.”

The new gas field was discovered along the borders of the mammoth Tamar gas reservoir. It’s about the same size as Tamar, which currently serves much of Israel’s needs.

The reservoir was reported by Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc., in a resources estimate on the Daniel East and West licenses held by the two companies.

According to Tzahi Sultan, who owns part of the controlling interest in Modiin Energy, the Daniel licenses “have the greatest potential since Leviathan.”

Trading in Daniel East and Daniel West was suspended on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) pending the announcement, according to Globes business news service.

“Gas reserves of this order could significantly change Israel’s energy industry,” Sultan was quoted by Globes. “If the potential is realized, the disocvery could help competition in the Israeli gas industry a great deal and could completely change the picture.”

After trading resumed, participation units in ISRAMCO jumped by 8.46 percent, and units in Modiin skyrocketed by 34.3 percent.

“We are excited at the potential that has been revealed for finding gas in the Daniel East and Daniel West licensed,” Modiin Energy CEO Ron Maor said in a statement.

“This is potential of a significant size which, if realized, could represent competition for the currently existing reserves, and improve the country’s energy security. Together with our partners we will carry out drilling to test the potential prospects as soon as possible.

“We hope that the State of Israel will encourage further activity in the potential gas reserves in the Daniel East and Daniel West fields.”

The Tamar gas field was discovered in January 2009, also in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israel coastline. The field is located in Israel’s exclusive economic zone, roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Haifa in waters 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) deep. The adjoining Tamar South field added even more reserves. Together, the two finds comprised the largest discovery at the time of gas or oil in the Levant basin of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The Leviathan gas field is one of the world’s largest offshore gas finds of the past decade, and is believed to ultimately have the potential to change Israel’s relations with its neighbors. It is located about 47 kilometers (29 miles) southwest of Tamar, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of Haifa. It’s about 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) deep in the Levantine basin.

In November 2015, the developers of the Leviathan gas field closed and inked their first gas deal with Egypt.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel’s Leviathan Developers Ink Gas Deal With Egypt

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Developers of the mammoth Leviathan natural gas field beneath Israel’s Mediterranean coastal waters have inked a deal with Egypt. It’s a deal that has had Israel’s government — and that of Cairo — holding their collective breath for months.

Leviathan will start pumping the natural gas to Egypt beginning in 2019 or 2020, for up to 15 years, according to the agreement. The price of the gas includes a floor price and is to be linked to the cost of Brent oil, Reuters reported.

The Leviathan developers and Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings agreed in last week’s letter of intent to negotiate the terms on the final deal.

Natural gas will be pumped from Leviathan to the Dolphinus Holdings via an existing underwater pipeline, Dolphinus and the Leviathan developers said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

The pipeline was built nearly 10 years ago by East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) when gas was being piped from Egypt to Israel. At the time, EMG had been managing an Egyptian-Israeli gas agreement. But that deal collapsed in 2012 after unending terrorist attacks ended the flow in the gas pipeline that ran through the Sinai Peninsula.

Leviathan, which holds an estimated 622 bcm of gas, is being developed by the Texas-based Noble Energy and Delek Group through Delek Drilling and Avner Oil and Gas. Dolphinus represents Egypt’s non-governmental, industrial and commercial consumers.

“We’ve worked with Dolphinus before and we expect to reach a final agreement quickly,” Yossi Abu, CEO of Israel’s Delek Drilling told Reuters.

“The Egyptian market is thirsty for gas, both for domestic use and for their export facilities. There is a lot of room for cooperation there.”

Dolphinus already agreed earlier this year to a seven-year deal to purchase at least $1.2 billion of natural gas from the Israeli Tamar gas field.

Leviathan is located close to the Tamar field. Cyprus also has a role in some gas field development with Israel as well; the two countries share a common basic with Egypt which gas discoveries have been made.

In addition, the Italian company ENI announced in August of this year that it had discovered one of the largest gas fields in the world off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. The reserves are estimated at about 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the equivalent of about 5.2 billion barrels of oil.

Abu noted that the discoveries, together with Egypt’s cooperation, have created a natural leadership role in the region for Cairo.

“Egypt is becoming a regional hub through cooperation with the Leviathan and Tamar partners, and together with Israel and Cyprus,” he said.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the eastern Mediterranean contains huge gas reserves – estimated at approximately 122 trillion cubic feet.

Hana Levi Julian

First Winter Storm Smacks Israel

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

A winter storm sailing in from the Mediterranean smacked the State of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and surrounds on Sunday morning with wind and hail — gale force wind and hail the size of baseballs, that it.

Strong winds and hail the size of National League baseballs struck hard in northern Israel as the country got its first real taste of winter.

Gale force winds swung a crane out of control and crashing down in Netanya, injuring several people in the northern coastal city. Magen David Adom emergency medical response teams rushed to the scene.

In Pardes Hanna, a wall collapsed at a construction site. One 20-year-old man was mortally wounded in the collapse; he was rushed to Hillel Yafeh Medical Center in Hadera but could not be saved.

In the Samaria community of Har Bracha, two people were hurt when a tent collapsed due to the high winds, a 17-year-old teenage boy and a 20-year-old girl.

The Israel Electric Company (IEC) reported power outages in various areas across the north and damage to infrastructure where the “baseballs” struck “home.”

Tel Aviv’s local airport, Sde Dov, was closed for several hours. The airport handles mainly domestic and small commercial flights.

Other areas that have been affected included Tel Aviv and a number of surrounding suburbs including Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak, Holon and Petach Tikvah as well as Givat Shmuel. The cities of Ra’anana, Ramat HaSharon and Netanya also saw a number of power lines downed by fallen trees from high winds.

More rain and wind in the forecast has raised the risk of flash flooding in the evening hours, including in the east and south.

Hana Levi Julian

If Egypt Can Destroy Gaza’s Tunnels…

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The topography of Israel’s shared border with Hamas-occupied Gaza is far too complicated, different and longer than Egypt’s shared border with Gaza to replicate what Egypt just did, but it does make one think about other possible solutions.

Fed up with Hamas sending terrorists into the Sinai via the underground tunnels, as well as the smuggling tunnels, Egypt redirected water from the Mediterranean sea, flooding everything under the ground along their shared border.

If we’re already being creative, here’s another thought… the Mediterranean could be Israel’s solution too.

Perhaps Israel could find a way to get every Gazan $5000, a fake Syrian passport (there’s plenty of those floating around) and a seat on a boat sailing across the Mediterranean into to Europe.

Once the sane people leave, it’s clean up time, and we rebuild Gush Katif.

Photo of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/if-egypt-can-destroy-gazas-tunnels/2015/09/20/

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