How will the relations between Israeli Government, Noble & Delek evolve?

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Article by Drake - Newsbase: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won Israel’s election, on March 17th, signalling the start of his third term in office. The re-election of “Bibi” is likely to continue the frostiness with Democrats in the US, but may smooth over some of the difficulties slowing down offshore gas developments in Israel. […]

One of the key objectives for the winning party will be to sort out the country’s early stage hydrocarbons industry. Of particular urgency is the resolution of the long-standing dispute between Israeli regulatory authorities – the Anti-Trust Authority (ATA) in particular – and the companies that hold the licence to Israel’s large offshore gas finds, primarily the local Delek Group and Houston-based Noble Energy.

There has yet to be a final resolution to the monopoly status of Leviathan and Tamar, while the head of the ATA, David Gilo, and the Head of the Economic Council in the PM’s office have not yet provided viable alternative options.

The ATA contests that the large stakes in the fields held by Delek and Noble constitutes a monopoly, leading to much to-ing and fro-ing over the last year. Such uncertainty has been enough to scupper deals with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum and Italian firm Edison to enter into the offshore play. These problems continue to provide a significant barrier to entry. If they cannot be successfully resolved, Noble may end up taking legal action against Israel, and at a push, could end its involvement in the Levantine Basin.

Netanyahu’s policy has been largely in favour of the private sector and he is likely to try to continue this approach. With him at the helm, it is likely the ATA will find in favour of Noble and Delek continuing their operations at Leviathan and Tamar.

However, the prime minister is a pragmatist and will remember only too well the 2011 protests by middle-class Israelis, angry about high prices and perceived predatory behaviour by the country’s business tycoons that swept a number of populist politicians into the Knesset – as well as Netanyahu’s government. - Article ends - 

The Jerusalem Post reports that Delek and Noble have recently sued the State of Israel for $15 million over gas royalties. How will the relations between Israeli Government, Noble & Delek evolve? Let me know your views below.

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