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May 23, 2013 10:16 am

Israel Considers Cutting Gas Export Quota Drastically

avatar by Zach Pontz

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An aerial view of the Israeli gas rig Tamar. Photo: Albatross Aerial photography/Nobel Energy/FLASH90.

Israel is considering cutting gas exports due to social protests in the country, Israeli media reported Thursday.

Minister of Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom may lower the natural gas export quota from 53% to 40%. The Tzemach Committee on gas exports recommends an export quota of 53%, subject to certain conditions.

Last weekend, hundreds of demonstrators opposing gas exports protested outside the home of Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) controlling shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva.

“We came here to shout outside Tshuva’s home that it is unacceptable for him to make so much money at the expense of the people,” said Yigal Rambam, a leader of the social protest in 2011, who led the demonstration. “He pays lobbyists tens of thousands of shekels to ensure that he will profit as much as possible and leave as little as possible for Israel’s people.”

Green Course leader Michal Shukrun said, “Although Tshuva isn’t the only address, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of shekels taken from the public’s resources directly into private hands, without first assuring that Israel’s people will have enough gas, not for the next 25 years, but for the next 50 years.”

Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz on Tuesday slammed the recommendations of the Tzemach Committee.

“The decision on the duration of time in which Israel will benefit from its gas determines directly how much gas is kept for [domestic] consumption,” Peretz said. “The decision whether to maintain enough gas for 20 years or more is not an economic decision, but an ideological and public policy decision.”

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