‘Delek’s gas exploration might be monopoly’

Antitrust Authority on Tuesday announced it is considering declaring Delek Group Ltd.’s units a monopoly in natural- gas exploration.

September 6, 2011 23:17
1 minute read.
delek gas station 88 298

delek gas station 224.88. (photo credit: Courtesy.)

The Antitrust Authority on Tuesday announced it is considering declaring Delek Group Ltd.’s units a monopoly in natural- gas exploration. The announcement follows a review of several months into the operations of Delek Group’s holding company Delek Investments and Properties Ltd. units Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling LP and their partner Noble Energy Inc. unit Noble Energy Mediterranean Inc.

Avner and Delek Drilling are partners in the Ashkelon and Noa reserves, which constitute Yam Tethys, the sole Israeli supplier of natural gas. They are also partners in the Tamar, Dalit, Leviathan and other licenses.

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The Antitrust Authority notified the Tamar and Dalit partners – Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, Avner, Isramco Ltd. and Alon Natural Gas Exploration Ltd. – that it was considering declaring them a natural- gas-supply monopoly when Tamar comes on line in the second half of 2013.

Beginning in 2013, Tamar and Dalit are due to supply more than half of Israel’s natural- gas needs, and the partners are currently in talks on long-term gas-supply contracts from the reservoirs.

The Antitrust Authority also announced that it was considering declaring Leviathan partners Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, Avner and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP a cartel because of their Ratio Yam provisional permit, which includes the Leviathan gas reservoir. Ratio was the sole owner of the Ratio Yam provisional permit until 2007, when Noble Energy, Delek Drilling and Avner bought into it even as they owned other oil and gas assets. These holdings allegedly constitute a cartel without approval from the Antitrust Authority.

The Antitrust Authority has summoned the companies to a hearing. Several weeks ago, the Antitrust Authority notified several oil and gas exploration companies, including Noble Energy, Delek Group, Modiin Energy LP and Israel Land Development Company Energy Ltd., that several pending arrangements between them were liable to be considered as restraint of trade, which would require approval by the Antitrust Authority.

Delek Group’s share price fell 7.6 percent by mid-afternoon to NIS 551.80, Avner’s fell 5.2% to NIS 1.70, Delek Drilling’s fell 5.4% to NIS 9.60, Isramco’s fell 5% to NIS 0.358, and Ratio’s fell 6.7% to NIS 0.318.

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