16 August 12–Sources inform ”Globes” that the Bank of Israel will support minimal restrictions on natural gas exports. The central bank recently decided on its position ahead of the final report by the committee on the gas market structure, chaired by Ministry of Energy and Water Resources director general Shaul Tzemach.
The Bank of Israel’s position agrees with the position of the Ministry of Finance and the National Economic Council’s representatives on the Tzemach Committee. The supporters of gas exports believe that considerations of ensuring a free and sophisticated market in gas greatly outweigh greater national energy security by restricting exports. The Bank of Israel’s position is also in line with that of Prof. Eytan Sheshinski in an interview with “Globes” last week. The Bank of Israel has observer status on the Tzemach Committee.
The pro-export position is mainly opposed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which wants tighter export restrictions than the Tzemach Committee’s interim recommendations in April. Most of the other committee members have not yet explicitly supported either side, although Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht is leaning toward the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s position.
The Tzemach Committee is due to submit its final report ahead of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) in mid-September, three months behind the original deadline.
Supporters of the free market in gas exports believe that the government should not dictate to the gas fields’ developers how to develop the fields and export gas from them. However, they do support reservations to prevent market failure, the first of which is to require the licensees to honor contracts already signed with Israeli customers…Read More>>