Photo: Oz Maron
The High Court on Wednesday rejected five petitions regarding the Sheshinski bill and ruled that they pay unprecedented sums in expenses. Isramco and its investors which submitted separate petitions and Givot Olam Oil will each pay the State NIS 250,000 ($61,800) in expenses and Professor Shmuel Kaniel who called for the royalties to be increased will pay NIS 18,000 ($4,500).
The five petitions were filed separately over a period of two years and were joined together for a joint hearing against the Sheshinski bill which was approved in the Knesset in March 2011 and determined a gradual increase in the State's royalties from the gas reservoirs.
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The first petition was filed in May 2011 by Isramco investors that claimed that "the level of taxation determined by Sheshinski is that of an intolerant dictatorship."
The other petitions were filed by Isramco partners who have a 29% stake in the Tamar gas partnership, which claimed that the bill was devaluating the reservoir by 43%; Givot Olam Oil who were petitioning against applying the law to the Meged oilfield; Knesset Member Uri Ariel who demanded that a foundation be established to deal with the gas profits; and Professor Shmuel Kaniel.
One organization which did not file a petition against the bill was Yitzhak Tshuva's Delek Group which holds portions of the Yam Tatis reservoir project together with NobleEnergy. Justice Miriam Naor noted upon the fact in a hearing last month: "We ask ourselves what happened that Delek isn't here? We know because they are here as respondents and are not here of their own volition."
The High Court judges rejected the claims raised by the gas companies: "The claim that the law comes into effect retroactively is rejected," the ruling stated.