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Jordan suspends talks on $15 billion Israeli gas deal

Jordan's decision follows recent moves by Israel's antitrust regulator to break up what it views as a gas monopoly in Israel • "We cannot proceed until we know which side will develop the gas field in Israel," says Jordanian MP.

Jordan has suspended negotiations on potential export of natural gas from Israel, Jordanian media outlets reported this weekend.

Jordanian MP Jamal Qammouh, the head of the Lower House Energy Committee, told the daily newspaper Al-Ghad that the talks were suspended due to a disagreement between American company Noble Energy and Israel. The disagreement followed recent moves by the Israeli authorities to break up what they termed a "monopoly."

"We were informed that there are differences between Israel and Noble Energy and we cannot proceed with talks until we know which side will develop the gas field in Israel," Qammouh told Bloomberg in a phone interview from Amman.

Israel's antitrust regulator is reconsidering a decision to let a group led by Noble develop the country's two biggest natural gas fields. Inbar Dovev, a spokeswoman for the company, declined to comment by phone today.

Last month, Antitrust Commissioner Professor David Gilo informed Israel's Delek Group and the Texas-based Noble Energy of his decision to revoke the licensing agreement pertaining to their holdings in the Leviathan offshore gas field. The companies, which also control the Tamar, Tanin and Karish gas fields, have effectively formed a cartel, which the Antitrust Authority said it seeks to dissolve.

In September, partners in Israel's Leviathan field were in talks to supply natural gas to Jordan under a 15-year, $15 billion agreement.

The deal would involve the supply of 1.6 trillion cubic feet (45 billion cubic meters) of gas over the course of the agreement to Jordan's National Electric Power Co.

A memorandum of understanding had been signed between the parties, but negotiations were never finalized.

Leviathan, discovered in 2010 off Israel's Mediterranean coast, is the world's largest offshore gas find in the past decade and is expected to provide the country with greater energy independence. Tax revenue will also help Israel's budget.

Israel Hayom
Published on:
January 5, 2015
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