Total gas pipeline.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Expansion of competition in the fuels market and the development of
infrastructure at Haifa port is being prevented by infighting involving
government offices and state companies, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss
said in his report issued Monday.
The State Comptroller’s Office
investigated actions taken taken to reform the fuels market between March 2009
and April 2011. In particular, it examined the National Infrastructures
Ministry, Finance Ministry, Antitrust Authority, the state-owned Petroleum and
Energy Infrastructures Company, and Haifa Municipality.
Lindenstrauss, the National Infrastructures and Finance ministries are still yet
to submit a proposal to the government based on the recommendations of an
inter-ministerial committee, which examined physical, bureaucratic and
competitive barriers to improving competition and infrastructure in the fuels
market – even though the committee submitted its recommendations in January
The postponement resulted from a lack of agreement between
ministries over how to balance the needs of the Haifa Municipality and the
planning and safety requirements of the Haifa port with the need to improve
competition, the report said.
In addition, the Antitrust Authority and
Finance Ministry still have not finished deliberating on findings based on data
collected from oil refineries and other bodies in the energy industry, the
comptroller said. He added that completion of these deliberations was essential
to removing barriers to competition.
Infighting was also blamed for
blocking decisions on infrastructure. Lindenstrauss said an absence of
coordination and an overlapping of authorities between government bodies
responsible for development in the Haifa ports area had delayed the
establishment of new infrastructure there, which would improve the ease of
refined fuels importation. On top of this, the Transport Ministry was taken to
account for delaying a bill on the development of infrastructure at the port.