Netanyahu signs controversial natural gas deal

Following months of protest, political pressure and revision, Netanyahu signs natural gas deal; Netanyahu- This gas was given to us as a gift from God. It makes us, potentially, if not an energy superpower then definitely an important international force.

Israel’s Tamar gas field (Albatross)

Israel’s Tamar gas field (Albatross)

Prime Minister Netanyahu officially signed the long-debated natural gas deal Thursday, following months of protests and political hurdles. Evoking his right as Economy Minister to bypass Antitrust Authority through Clause 52, Netanyahu finalized the multibillion-dollar deal with US Noble Energy despite protest from the Knesset Finance Committee.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Ne’ot Hovav industrial zone in southern Israel, Netanyahu stated that “This gas was given to us as a gift from God. It makes us, potentially, if not an energy superpower then definitely an important international force. This plan is important to our economy because it gives us a relatively cheap source of energy.”

Netanyahu spoke of the importance of the deal in not only strengthening Israel’s economy, but also improving foreign relations. He stated that the deal is “also important for our foreign relations. Many countries have expressed interest. Not just Greece and Cyprus, whose leaders I’m going to meet in a few weeks. Jordan, and of course the Palestinian Authority as well, are interested. Turkey and Egypt are also interested, and we’re discussing this with them.”

Under the deal, both Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek will own and develop the Israel’s largest gas field, Leviathan, which will reportedly take over 3 years to develop with plans to supply gas to Jordan and Egypt, creating massive economic opportunity for Israel.

The deal is set for 10-years, in which time price limitations will be set and smaller gas fields, such as Tanin and Karish, will be sold. Israel will continue to develop and produce from the Tamar oil field, with a set 6-year period for Delek to sell its stakes.