23 August 12 18:33–”We haven’t yet caught the Leviathan, and we’re already selling its skin for export,” says Yonatan Friedman, who until a year ago was professional energy adviser to Minister of Energy and Water Resources Uzi Landau, and who is currently a member of the Oil Council, and an independent energy consultant, in response to the publication of details of the draft final report of the committee on the structure of the gas economy, headed by Ministry of Energy and Water Resources director-general Sahul Tzemach.
“I haven’t seen the draft final report of the Tzemach committee, I’ve seen the reports in the press. I’m not against exports in principle; I’m against decision being made before the country has made the decisions that are important for it: how it is going to meet its own needs, through a masterplan for natural gas exploration and production. Once that’s clear, it will be possible to discuss exports.”
The argument of the supporters of ‘exports now’ is that without a commitment to massive exports, it won’t be worth investors’ while coming in to invest in development of reserves.
“I don’t accept the argument that only assured exports will bring investors and encourage development and production. A promise about the future must first of all drop anchor in the domestic market. The government is responsible for this commitment, until the natural gas economy reaches maturity.”
It’s a fact that there is pressure on ministers and officials for an immediate decision on exports.
“Even the companies know that exports could be lucrative, but may not happen at all. They too know very well what’s happening in natural gas exploration and in the big discoveries around the world, including near us.”
So perhaps they need a promise of exports to give cover for high levels of credit from the banks?
“Anyone who counts on exports to secure financing for exploration and development projects is liable to end up with nothing. It’s a very big gamble to count on exports. So perhaps the companies are deluding themselves, and perhaps it’s a way of boosting their share prices. Stories of gas that will be channeled to exports at a price of $14 or $15 per MMBTU, which is indeed the price today in Japan, perhaps helps share prices now, but it will take several years to build the installations, and the whole world is busy looking for gas. Unfortunately, the world does not appear to be waiting for Israeli natural gas exports. Only last year, international companies discovered in Africa, off the shares of Mozambique and Tanzania, huge gas reserves, bigger than the discoveries in Israel.”…Read More>>