MQG submits detailed objection to natural gas deal

MQG submitted its objection to the gas deal in a 100 page position paper. The paper included detailed criticism towards the process in which the deal was drafted, which was done with no authority and against the laws of proper administration; According to MQG, the proposed deal is contrary to the public interest and will prevent any form of competition, something that is desperately needed in the natural gas sector.

MQG handed in its objection in the “public hearing” for the gas deal issue. Its central concern, which was expressed in the position paper, is the creation of an private monopoly that controls with absolute power over a vital natural resource which the Israeli economy uses to produce the majority of its energy. This absolute control clearly endangers Israel’s economy and decision making process. The procedure in which the deal was formed as well as the detailed arrangements that were determined in it, indicate that the deal was meant to ensure the financial interests of the gas monopoly, under the cover of “public” considerations.

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Tamar gas field of the coast of Israel (Photo: Channel 2)

The Main Claims Presented in the Document against the Gas Deal Layout are as follows:

  • The process in which the deal was drafted and negotiated was done with no authority and against the rules of proper administration: First, the governmental team negotiated with the private gas companies with no official of legal authority, while disregarding the Antitrust Authority and regulations. In addition, the attempt to “launder” this invalid procedure through activating paragraph 52 to the antitrust law (which enables the Minister of Economy to override the authority of the Antitrust Commissioner) under the cover of national security considerations must be rejected. Secondly, the “Kendel team” violated the laws of proper administration, and its actions entailed multiple administrative flaws. Those flaws behavior caused the team to fail in the negotiations with the gas companies and fail to reach a proper deal that would best ensure the public interest. It almost seems like the team actually made an effort to prevent the possibility of seeing any objective or relevant data.
  • The Monopoly: The deal fortifies the gas companies’ powerful position in the gas market, which will lead to a dangerous reliance on a private monopoly, thus enhancing the risk of disruptions in the regular gas supply that might greatly damage Israel’s energetic independence as well as Israel’s decision making process.
  • Damaging the Public’s Interest: The examination of the proposed deal reveal significant concessions to the gas companies, which contradict all aspects of the public interest. For example: exempting the gas companies from Antitrust regulations; the absence of effective supervision on gas prices; cancelling regulations limiting gas export; granting significant tax benefits and bypassing the “Sheshinski” law; binding the legislature and executive authority from the possibility of any future resolutions regarding the gas industry; an unpreceded expansion of the definition to the term “Higher Power”, which benefits the gas companies and enables them to postpone the date by which they must sell and produce gas.