Shalom: Natural gas companies must report profits

New requirement is meant to ensure natural gas entrepreneurs refrain from loading together expenses from several projects.

Silvan Shalom at Tamar natural gas rig 370 (photo credit: Moshe Binyamin)
Silvan Shalom at Tamar natural gas rig 370
(photo credit: Moshe Binyamin)
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom signed a decree on Sunday that will officially require natural gas entrepreneurs to report the pricing and the profitability of their activities, the office announced on Wednesday.
The new requirement, which is based on recommendations from a joint pricing committee of the Finance and the Energy and Water ministries, will require natural gas firms to provide such financial information on an individual project level, ensuring that they refrain from loading together expenses from multiple projects. Any natural gas partner that either has been selling natural gas or holds a contract to do so as of September 1, 2012, will be required to report these figures, according to the ministry. The reporting requirement also extends to anyone who markets the natural gas to consumers.
“This is another step designed to prevent a situation in which prices are set too high in the market, due to a lack of suppliers in the market,” a statement from the Energy and Water Ministry said.
The duty for companies to submit their pricing and profitability statistics will be semi-annual, with the first reporting date occurring on May 5, the ministry noted.
As soon as Finance Minister Yair Lapid signs onto the decree, companies will be required to report on their pricing and profit activity in the natural gas market to the Energy and Water Ministry. According to the information generated following the reports, the office will examine the need for supervising natural gas price setting in Israel, the ministry said.
Noble Energy is the majority stakeholder in both of the large natural gas projects taking place off of Israel’s Haifa coast at the moment – Tamar, the 250 billion cubic meter reservoir that already came online two weeks ago, and Leviathan, a reservoir roughly double the size.
The company holds 36 percent of the working interest in Tamar, with partner Delek Group holding a total of 31.25% (with 15.625% under subsidiary Delek Drilling and 15.625% under subsidiary Avner Oil Exploration), Isramco Negev 2 holding 28.75% and Dor Gas Exploration holding 4%.
Noble Energy, the Delek Group and Ratio Oil Exploration are partners in the Leviathan field, but a conditional agreement for a 30% share of the field has been made with Australian firm Woodside Petroleum. At the moment, Noble Energy holds 39.66% of the Leviathan field, Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each hold 22.67% and Ratio holds 15%.
Noble Energy and the Delek Group are also leading a drilling exploration on a prospect off the coast of Nahariya called Karish, in which Noble has a 47.06% working interest, and Delek Group subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each have a 26.47% interest.
The largest stakeholders in Israel’s drilling efforts declined to comment in response to Shalom’s decision to sign the supervisory decree.
The same day it announced this decision, the Energy and Water Ministry also reported that the Petroleum Commission had granted two new exploration licenses on Monday to a partnership group that involves a different mix from the Tamar and Leviathan cohorts. The new two licenses, for exploring fields Neta and Royee, are held 70% by Ratio Oil Exploration, 20% by Edison International and 10% by Israel Opportunity Energy Resources. Neta and Royee are located within the Gal gas reservoir block, about 150 km. west of Hadera.