National Infrastructure Minister Dr. Uzi Landau sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday, warning him that a large energy company which intended to establish a private power plant is threatening to back out of a planned alliance with Delek Energy Ltd. for the purchase of natural gas from the Tamar field, and exchange it with Egyptian gas imports.
Landau stressed that the deal is worth billions of dollars.
The possible loss of the deal is due to the uncertainty regarding Delek's ability to supply the gas from Tamar at the discussed date following the abeyance of the final conclusions of the Sheshinski Committee, the direction of the results remains unknown.
Since the publication of the Sheshinski Committee's intermediate conclusions, the minister has claimed that the committee's progress and the Tamar project must be separated. Landau wrote to the prime minister on Sunday following information he received "your decision on the Tamar gas production issue is needed immediately. We have reached the moment of truth. Not taking action is no longer an option. Your intervention and decision are needed today."
'Economy will pay dearly'
Landau explains the urgency noting that the losses from the energy's company backing out of the alliance can be much larger in light of the possibility that other gas consumers could decide to follow in its footsteps and expand their purchase from the Egyptian supplier at the cost of future purchases from the Tamar field.
"The danger is that additional Israeli companies would be swept away in this manner if an agreement with the foreign supplier is signed, as this trend could spread like wildfire."
The minister also warned that "this data constitutes another burden on the foundation of the Tamar project, certainly in the short term. Any delay or protraction of the project could cost this Israeli economy dearly."
As for the attractive looking alternative to the Tamar project waiting in the wings, the minister states that if it is realized, it would not be possible to explain to the Israeli public why the Israeli government pushed energy consumers into foreign arms on a such an unprecedented level and preferred them to Israeli gas suppliers.
Moreover, "none of us will be able to explain where the expected tax funds disappeared to and why Israel isn't rushing to develop the potential hidden in its financial waters. Especially when taking into account the geopolitical uncertainties that characterize the Middle East."
Landau went on to say that "First and foremost, Israel needs a trustworthy, cheap and clean electricity supplier, and a necessary condition is a safe and regular supply of natural gas from the Tamar field as soon as possible without disruptions and mishaps. Together with the Leviatan revelations, the Israeli public would enjoy the abundance of royalties and production taxes."
The minister's office noted that the letter to Netanyahu mentions the name of the energy company threatening to back out of the alliance with Tamar, but refuses to reveal it to the media. The Prime Minister's Office has yet to make a response.
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