Israel To Export Natural Gas To Jordan

Knesset Was Divided on Controversial Vote

Drilling at the Leviathan offshore natural gas field.
Haaretz
Drilling at the Leviathan offshore natural gas field.

By JTA

Published June 23, 2013.

The cabinet on Sunday approved a controversial plan to reserve 60 percent of Israel’s natural gas for domestic use while letting the rest be exported. Ministers approved a change that will entitle Jordan to start receiving gas exports immediately.

Eighteen ministers approved the plan, while three opposed. As a result, Israel will be assured around 540 billion cubic meters of gas over the next 25 years.

The government hopes the cabinet vote will end the debate on how much of Israel’s gas reserves, currently estimated at 900 bcm, should remain at home for use by industry, transportation and consumers, and how much should be sold overseas.

But a group of MKs and nonprofit organizations plans to ask the High Court of Justice on Monday to order that gas-export policy be approved by the Knesset.

The ministers backed one politically significant change that was hammered out last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This would book sales to Israel’s immediate neighbors, namely Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, as exports. As a result, Jordan will be entitled to 20 bcm of natural gas from the offshore Tamar field, which has been in operation since March, rather than waiting for the larger Leviathan field to come online.

Read more at Haaretz.com.



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