ISRAELI GAS DECISION
Israeli and American energy companies expressed disappointment on Monday over Israel's Supreme Court decision that struck down a government deal that would have given them the rights to begin pumping natural gas from offshore deposits.
David Stover, the chairman of Houston-based Noble Energy, said the ruling was "disappointing."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had emphatically supported the deal struck between his government and a consortium of oil and gas developers as a path to Israeli energy independence, new regional alliances and billions of dollars in revenue. Critics said the deal gave too much profit to corporations at the public's expense.
The court opposed a clause that would prevent Israel from making significant regulatory changes for the next ten years.
The gas deal was a centerpiece of Netanyahu's economic policy, and he made an unprecedented appearance in the Supreme Court to lobby for its approval.
After the court scuttled the deal, Netanyahu resolved to "seek other ways to overcome the severe damage that this curious decision has caused the Israeli economy."
Eli Groner, director-general of Netanyahu's office, warned on Army Radio that "we are telling the world that Israel is a place where it is difficult to do business."
Thousands of Israelis have turned out for weekly protests against the gas deal.
On Monday, opposition lawmaker Shelly Yachimovich, a leading critic of Israel's deal with the gas companies, called the court decision "historic and dramatic," and proof that "a smart, aware public can cause justice to prevail."
The Israeli Delek Group called Monday on the government to rework the agreement quickly. In a conference call with investors, a Delek representative said "we don't intent to put things on hold."
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REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 72 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1020 GMT, having fallen by 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its largest one-day drop in a month. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55.12 per barrel, down 58 cents.
BLOOMBERG - Prices dropped during the session as the International Energy Agency said the recent recovery in oil prices, coupled with milder-than-normal winter weather, is slowing demand growth. The worsening outlook for consumption dampened some of the enthusiasm that OPEC and its allies will extend supply curbs.
Global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.
Product exports have grown significantly over the past several years and are expected to continue to grow as Russian refineries add capacity to produce more high-quality products.