The United States government supports the transaction of Noble Energy, Inc. (NBL) and its partners in the Leviathan field to supply natural gas to the National Electric Power Company Ltd. (NEPCO) of Jordan.
Noble Energy deal could enhance energy security
The U.S. government through Secretary of State John Kerry is discussing the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Jeff Rathke, spokesperson for the State Department.
“We continue to engage and we support all parties to move forward with the natural gas deal signed between Noble Energy and entities in Jordan and Egypt, We strongly believe that these deals would enhance energy security in the region,” said Rathke.
Rathke emphasized that the Noble Energy deal is a legal debate between the company and Israel and it does not involve the United States.
“It is important for all countries to have a strong investment climate, including a consistent and predictable regulatory framework,” added Rathke.
Israel anti-trust regulator’s recommendation to Noble Energy
Israel’s anti-trust authority made a recommendation to Noble Energy and Delek Group to break-up their control of the country’s offshore gas reserves. The companies control 85% of the Leviathan natural gas field.
Last week, the anti-trust regulator informed Noble Energy regarding its decision to not submit the Consent Decree to the anti-trust tribunal for final approval. The proposed consent decree allows Noble Energy and Delek Group to remain in the Leviathan and neighboring Tamar natural gas field without being considered as cartel, which is illegal in Israel.
Under the consent decree, Noble Energy and its partners agreed to divest Tanin ad Karis gas fields. The divestiture is a key component for the final investment decision on the Leviathan natural gas field development.
Noble Energy and its partners requested a hearing with the anti-trust regulator regarding the issue.
“The actions of the anti-trust authority are another disturbing example of the uncertain regulatory environment in Israel. Specifically, this is a matter that we believed was resolved some time ago and follows on recent assurances from the anti-trust authority that approval was forthcoming,” said Charles D. Davidson, chairman of Noble Energy in a recent statement.
Davidson added, “We believe this is a harmful precedent for Israel to set and we will vigorously defend our rights relating to our assets.”