Netanyahu signs off on controversial natural gas deal

Putting an end to nearly a year of squabbles that all but froze the nation’s natural gas sector, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday signed a legal clause to activate the sector’s long-disputed framework agreement.

While the gas framework in question – a deal aimed at settling disagreements between the developers and the government – received cabinet approval in August, the plans faced additional hurdles after failing to receive the approval of the antitrust commissioner.

Fully realizing the gas deal ultimately required that the economy minister – a role currently being filled by Netanyahu – invoke a legal clause to circumvent the commissioner’s objections – Article 52 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Law (1988).

“We came, today, to provide gas to Israel, to the Israeli economy, to the Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said at the signing ceremony held at the Neot Hovav Industrial Park in the Negev. “The gas that was given to us as a gift from God found in the deep sea where we were given enormous gas reserves. They potentially transform us not just into an energy power, but certainly into an important international energy force with a very great capability – and we need to extract them.” Continue reading…

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