The Israeli government’s anti-trust authority is challenging the investors over the group’s monopoly in the field of natural gas development.
U.S.-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek group formed the partnership that discovered, explored and began drilling in the mammoth Leviathan gas field and the smaller Tamar field, both in coastal Mediterranean waters.
An original three-year agreement with Israel’s government was to allow the group to maintain control of the gas fields. They were to sell two smaller gas deposits in order to create competition in the local market.
David Gilo, who heads Israel’s Anti-Trust Authority, said on Tuesday however that he is considering backing away from the agreement.
Instead, Gilo said he may advise the government to break up the partnership in order to avoid a monopoly in the market. In response, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Tuesday morning suspending trading in shares of energy companies, including Delek.
Noble is threatening litigation, adding that it will “take all action necessary to protect its legal and legitimate rights.” Prospecting by other companies for offshore gas in the country has also halted out of concern over regulatory risk.
National elections that are now facing the country and the dog fighting involved has not done anything to help the situation either.
The Jewish State finds itself in the peculiar situation in which it clearly has the resources to finally become energy independence — yet appears to be on the bring of shooting itself in the foot well before it has the chance to liberate itself from its slavery to others.