Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform.
(photo credit: MERETZ)
With the goal of uncovering all political interests in the natural-gas sector, Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On is demanding full disclosure by decision-makers who hold shares in the relevant companies.
Gal-On, on June 2, wrote a letter to National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz and the ministry’s legal adviser Drora Lifshitz, asking that the ministry require the companies to publish the names of their shareholders and amount of stock owned by these individuals.
Since natural gas will have an enormous impact on the country’s future, she argued that stakeholders must be identified to ensure that no conflicts of interest exist among decision-makers.
The Energy Ministry responded to Gal- On’s request in a June 24 letter that the Meretz leader distributed to the media Tuesday. In that correspondence, a representative from the minister’s staff said ministry officials will approach the gas companies about the matter.
“It is the intention of professionals in the ministry to contact the license holders according to the Petroleum Law to obtain full and organized details regarding controlling shareholders and stakeholders in the licenses,” the response said. “We, thus, will request from the license holders their stance regarding the publication of information related to them in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law.”
After receiving more information and conducting further consultations, ministry officials then will examine the possibility of publishing such details, the letter concluded.
Gal-On’s request comes as continued discussions and decisions take place over the fate of the country’s natural-gas reservoirs.
Last week, Steinitz published the terms of a controversial compromise outline in the sector, the result of six months of negotiations aimed at ending a development freeze.
The negotiations, held among government officials and the natural-gas companies, followed Israel Antitrust Authority Commissioner David Gilo’s December announcement that he would review whether the market dominance of the Delek Group and Noble Energy constituted an illegal “restrictive agreement.” Since then, members of an interministerial team have formulated several drafts of a compromise outline to settle the issue.
Although the latest outline version has gained the support of both coalition parties and gas-company executives, Knesset opposition members remain staunchly against its terms.