Senior opposition leader attacks Netanyahu’s new gas deal


Opposition Zionist Camp (Labor) MK Shelly Yachimovich on Thursday attacked economic ministers Kahlon and Deri, whom she said should have prevented the advancement of the Israeli government’s new offshore gas agreement with several energy companies, including Delek and Noble Energey.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz introduced the outline that was obtained Wednesday night with the gas companies over the sale of offshore gas to the Israeli market.

In an interview on Army Radio, Yachimovich said: “I say to both Finance Minister Kahlon and Economy Minister Deri — I’m disappointed in you. You have betrayed the public’s trust.”

She accused the two ministers of having earned their tickets into politics during the last election campaign on social and economic issues, and then reneging on their voters.

Yigal Landau, CEO of Ratio Energy that owns 15% of the Leviathan offshore field, said that if the outline is now rescinded by the legislator, there would be serious consequences for the Israeli market as a result.

“This does not mean that Noble Energy (of Houston, Texas) will walk away from such promising property,” Landau explained, adding: “The story is very simple — it would become impossible to raise and invest the necessary billions without which we will continue to ramble on, but the gas will stays at the bottom of the sea.”

According to the agreement reached, the base price per unit will be between $4.7 and $5.5, linked to the electricity production components’ costs. The outline will be brought to the cabinet for approval on Sunday.

“I thank this team for reaching an agreement that will earn the citizens of Israel hundreds of billions of shekels in the coming years,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said Thursday afternoon, adding, “This money will be used for health, education and welfare and therefore it will help us to lower the cost of living.”

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said: “With the approval of the outline, we will start moving forward the development of Leviathan, Karish and Tannin, creating competition and dismantling the [energy] monopoly.”

“We have indeed added several changes to the outline in the areas of prices, milestones for the development of Leviathan and certain changes in the article dealing with [the project’s] stability,” Steinitz explained.

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