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January 4, 2015 12:00 pm

Report: Jordan Suspends Negotiations With Israel Over $15 Billion Natural Gas Deal

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An oil jetty in Eilat, Israel. Jordan is suspending talks with Israel over $15-billion natural gas deal. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.– Jordan has suspended negotiations on a 15-year, $15 billion natural gas deal with Israel.

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 the Texas-based company Noble Energy and Israel. The disagreement followed recent moves by 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 News.

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

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Last month, Israeli Antitrust Commissioner Prof. David Gilo informed Israel’s Delek Group and 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 1.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over the course of 15 years to Jordan’s National Electric Power Company. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the parties, but the deal was never finalized.

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