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24/12/14
 

Update on the natural gas issue

WORD:
Date of Publication:
24/12/2014

Update on the natural gas issue:

 

Under Israeli antitrust law, a proposed consent decree is subject to public comment before it can be submitted for approval by the antitrust tribunal. After considering all arguments submitted in favor or against the proposed consent decree, the Director General of the antitrust authority needs to decide whether to submit the proposed consent decree to the antitrust tribunal and defend it. After a public hearing regarding the proposed consent decree with Delek and Noble Energy, the Israeli Antitrust Authority has notified Delek and Noble of its decision not to present the proposed consent decree to the antitrust tribunal for approval. The Authority further notified them that it is reconsidering the adoption of the position that the entry of Delek and Noble into the Leviathan project constitutes a restraint of trade that did not receive prior approval as required by Israeli antitrust law. The entry of Delek and Noble into the Leviathan project has created a situation in which they control all of the gas reservoirs off the coast of Israel. The Authority will carry out hearings with the companies before issuing its proclamation.

 

It has recently become clear to the antitrust authority that the proposed consent decree cannot be justified under the standards of the antitrust law, due to a number of new circumstances. In particular, the Authority has received strong indications that the proposed consent decree will not produce a truly competitive environment that would solve the problem of the existence of a monopoly. In addition, the Authority is concerned that government officials are putting their hope in the proposed consent decree and are awaiting its results rather than taking action immediately in order to further encourage competition.

 

The Authority is aware of the fact that its position is may have effects on the economy stemming from the reaction of the parties to this position, and therefore calls on all the government ministries to work together and with determination in order to minimize these effects. Nonetheless, the Authority believes that significant action is required that will get to the root of the problem of monopoly in the market.