Israel's government approves deal to develop gas field

GMT 20:34 2016 Sunday ,22 May

Arab Today, arab today Israel's government approves deal to develop gas field

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Jerusalem - XINHUA

Israeli government approved on Sunday a revised deal to expedite the development of a large offshore gas field, a spokeswoman for the energy ministry said in a statement.

The deal will enable Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel-based Delek Group to push on with the development of the Leviathan gas field.

A previous agreement was canceled by the Supreme Court as "unconstitutional" due to a key component that prevented the deal from being changed in the next decade.

The so-called "stability clause" drew much public criticism as it prevents future governments and parliaments from making changes in the controversial agreement, which according to opponents, set the gas prices too high and creates a monopoly.

The government hopes the new phrasing, which allows future governments to amend the deal, will hinder more objections by the Supreme Court.

"The new agreement incorporates the comments that we received from the Supreme Court," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, during which the deal was approved.

Leviathan is a gigantic 622 billion cubic meters gas reservoir found off Israel's Mediterranean coast in 2010. The Noble-Delek partnership hopes that gas production at the site will begin by the end of 2019.

Gas production in Tamar, a nearby smaller gas field also controlled by Noble and Delek, kicked off in March 2013.

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