Israel gave the green light on Tuesday for the sale of two gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean to the Greek firm Energean, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced.
The two fields, named Karish and Tanin and estimated to hold 60 billion cubic meters (2.1 billion cubic feet) of gas, had initially been allocated to a consortium grouping US firm Noble Energy and the Israeli group Delek, which already control two much larger fields.
“We have decided to put an end to this monopoly situation,” Steinitz told public radio, explaining the consortium’s sale of exploitation rights in the two fields to Energean for $150 million (NIS 570 million).
Regulators have charged that the government’s original deal with Nobel and Delek violated anti-trust laws. In March, 2016, Israel’s High Court of Justice shot down the deal’s “stability clause,” in which the government could not impose regulatory changes, such as breaking up suspected monopolies, on the consortium for a full 10 years.
According to the minister, total production from the four fields would bring in $92 billion (NIS 350 billion), or “more than all the US aid granted over the years to Israel.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report