Israeli Gas Group May Seek Arbitration in Row with Regulator
JERUSALEM, Dec 24 (Reuters) - The group that controls two large gas fields off Israel's shores could seek international arbitration to defend its assets, it said on Wednesday, a day after an Israeli regulator raised the prospect of it being stripped of some of its holdings.
The U.S.-Israeli consortium said it had been blindsided by the announcement from Israel's antitrust regulator that it might be deemed a monopoly over its control of the newfound Leviathan and Tamar gas fields.
Gideon Tadmor, chairman of Delek Drilling and CEO of Avner Oil, said the consortium -- which also includes U.S. group Noble Energy -- had not made any decisions, but that international arbitration was an option.
"I don't want to minimise the significance of what happened," he told a conference call with analysts and investors.
Delek Drilling and Avner Oil are part of conglomerate Delek Group and together hold large stakes in both fields.
The discovery of the fields in the eastern Mediterranean was the most significant economic story in Israel in recent years, turning the import-dependent country into a potential energy exporter.
Tamar, with 10 trillion cubic feet of reserves, went online last year and can meet Israel's natural gas needs for decades. Leviathan, more than twice as big, was set to begin production in 2018 and much of it is earmarked for exports.
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