Delek Group Ltd. shares rose to the highest level since December as investors discerned an end to months of regulatory uncertainty that halted development of Israel’s offshore natural gas fields.
The company’s shares jumped after Yuval Steinitz, Minister for National Infrastructures, Energy and Water resources, told Army Radio that the Israeli government wants to reach an agreement with exploration companies on a natural gas policy framework as soon as possible. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also defended the government’s plan for gas in parliament.
“I think we are nearing the end of the regulatory saga as all parties want to reach a solution,” Eldad Tamir, chief executive officer of Tel Aviv-based Tamir Fishman Group, said by phone. “Any delay hurts the Israeli economy.”
Tamir said his financial services company, which has $5 billion in assets under management, recently increased its stake in Delek Group.
The development of Leviathan, Israel’s largest offshore natural gas field, held by Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. and units of Delek Group, has stalled amid arguments over policy.
The country’s antitrust commissioner, David Gilo, tendered his resignation last month to protest the blueprint that is set to be approved. Gilo said it doesn’t do enough to break up the gas monopoly that emerged after two major offshore fields were discovered several years ago. The Tel Aviv Oil & Gas Index gained 1 percent to its highest level since Nov. 27 at the close in Tel Aviv.
Delek Group shares advanced as much as 3 percent before closing 1.7 percent higher at 1,200 shekels, the highest since Dec. 9. Its moving average convergence divergence, or MACD gauge, has risen higher than its signal line and is above zero, a bullish indicator for the shares.
Delek’s stock, which dropped to an 11-month low in December after Gilo threatened to declare the partnership in Leviathan a restrictive arrangement, is now trading above the Upper Bollinger Band, which may mean a continuation of the bullish trend. Bollinger Bands are designed to alert investors when a security rises too high or falls too low by comparing its price to the past average level.