RAMALLAH, August 29 (JMCC) - The discovery of vast untapped natural gas reservoirs in the Mediterranean Sea have set off competition over the rights to the find, reports the Washington Post
[T]he initial euphoria over the prospect of energy independence for Israel is being overshadowed by the dispute between Israeli officials who want to increase the state's share of the profits and U.S. and Israeli investors who say the government's stance threatens Israel's status as a safe place to invest.
Some have estimated the value of recent finds by a consortium led by Texas-based Noble Energy at $300 billion. They could represent only a fraction of the natural gas lying beneath the seafloor in the eastern Mediterranean, which, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, might contain one of the world's largest untapped gas reservoirs.
The prospect that Israel might tap more deeply into the revenues has set in motion a commercial dispute between the Israeli and U.S. governments, with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv warning against any rewriting of the rules.
Under current law, Israel would be eligible to claim royalties of 12.5 percent of the value of the gas, along with some additional charges. But Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has appointed a committee to determine whether that formula should be changed. A coalition of socially minded Israelis has also launched an advocacy campaign to educate the Israeli public about the billions in profits it stands to lose.
Read the story at the Washington Post...