Israel cracking down on energy sector?

May 26, 2011 at 8:55 AM

JERUSALEM, May 26 (UPI) -- Israeli officials are said to be looking to curb activities of oil and gas companies in an effort to prevent monopolies from developing, a source said.

Israeli officials said in April following a series of attacks on key natural gas arteries from Egypt that the country must find ways to become self-sufficient in energy.

Israel gets about 20 percent of its electricity needs from gas supplied through Egyptian pipelines.

The Israel Antitrust Authority and top government officials are looking at ways to put limits on oil and gas exploration companies to try to prevent monopolies, sources told the Platts news service on condition of anonymity.

Noble Energy and the Delek Group are the only gas suppliers to Israel. Both companies became deadlocked in talks with Israel Electric Corp. because of disputes over high price proposals.

Noble and Delek own the Yam Thetis consortium that holds majority stakes and the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields.

Israel heralded a sea change in its energy sector last year with the announcement that Leviathan off the coast of Haifa holds at least 18 trillion cubic feet of gas. The potential at Leviathan followed the 2009 discovery of the Tamar gas field off the Israeli coast, which holds around 8 trillion cubic feet of gas.

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