Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu on 17 December put pen to paper and approved the country’s controversial natural gas framework agreement. This largely overturns a ruling 12 months from Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo that labeled US firm Noble and its Israeli partner Delek a monopoly (MEES, 2 January). Two petitions filed against the framework will be heard at the Supreme Court on 3 February, but those are not expected to further delay the framework’s implementation.

Mr Gilo’s ruling that Noble and Delek would need to divest their stakes in either Leviathan or Tamar saw the US-firm put a halt to its operations in Israel earlier this year (MEES, 13 November). But Noble is now all smiles, saying the framework “establishes the regulatory certainty and stability necessary to proceed with development of both the Tamar expansion and Leviathan, while providing transparency for future domestic pricing and natural gas competition in Israel.” (CONTINUED - 301 WORDS)