Netanyahu Says Israel Will Keep 60% of Gas for Domestic Use

Israel will cap its gas exports at 40 percent of output, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, scaling back under public and political pressure the amount a government-appointed panel recommended.

The announcement had been expected, after Netanyahu’s Cabinet agreed this week in principle to that amount. It was about 20 percent below the amount a government-appointed panel had recommended in August.

The numbers were changed under pressure from lawmakers and Israelis who said the panel’s recommendation would enrich energy companies instead of benefiting the country by lowering prices. Exploration companies have discovered about 900 billion cubic meters of offshore gas.

Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, who had lobbied to trim the amount exported, said at the news conference where Netanyahu spoke that he sought to retain enough gas to meet Israel’s domestic needs for 30 years.

Guil Bashan, an analyst at IBI-Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said in a phone interview that the market had expected the decision, and that it “reduces uncertainty about the country’s export policy and will benefit the gas explorers who can now progress toward exports.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Calev Ben-David in Jerusalem at cbendavid@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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