Israel to make ‘small changes’ to gas roadmap
Israel’s cabinet has postponed a vote on the gas roadmap, but is expected to be raised within the next two weeks, with the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources saying that the plan was final, and any changes in it would be unimportant.
The Globes business news site reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz are expected to insert several changes into the roadmap corresponding to the public comments made during the earlier hearing. These include the possibility of linking the gas price to one of the global averages, probably the average index in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, or reducing the price in the plan by $0.20-0.25.
Also under consideration is state encouragement for the development of the small and medium-sized reservoirs through either a state guarantee for the developers or partial or full state financing for a pipeline.
Another possibility is that Delek Group and Noble Energy will be told to sell the Karish and Tanin reservoirs within 14 months, or the state will sell them at any price, even $1, to bring in new players and encourage competition, while avoiding the current dependence on the gas monopoly.
After changes are made to the gas roadmap, the final version will probably be submitted to the ministers towards the end of next week, and it is intended to hold a discussion and vote on it the following Sunday. There is still no timetable for submitting the roadmap to the Knesset, but there is no plan to drag out the decision until after the Knesset recess. The Knesset may be summoned for a special session in August; otherwise, the roadmap will reach the Knesset on September 2, when a special session on the state budget has already been scheduled.
It is not yet clear whether approval of the gas roadmap will be by the cabinet or the Knesset. Knesset approval is not legally required, but political sources believe that in order to appease Minister of the Economy Aryeh Deri, the roadmap may nevertheless be brought to the Knesset for a vote.