David Gilo, general director of the Antitrust Authority, today declared the Tamar gas reserve a monopoly, with effect from mid-2013. Among other things, this means an obligation to report prices and profit margins.
"The consequence is that the prohibitions and directives applying to a monopoly by virtue of the law apply to any partner in Tamar, including in its activity in gas reserves other than Tamar, such as Leviathan or Shimshon," the notice said.
Under the Restrictive Trade Practices Law, special prohibitions apply to monopolies, and the director general can give directives to the owner of a monopoly to prevent harm to competition or to the public. In particular, a provision of the law forbids the owner of a monopoly to abuse his standing in a way that might reduce competition or cause harm to the public, among other things by setting extortionate prices or predatory prices, discriminating between customers, or setting unreasonable terms.
It is also forbidden unreasonably to refuse to supply a product. The general director can also tackle behavior by a monopoly liable to block competing suppliers from entering the market, or to push them out of the market, or to harm competition between the monopoly's business customers.