Demonstrators in Tel Aviv protesting the Israeli government's support for a deal that would give two energy companies control over development of most of Israel's offshore gas deposits, June 27, 2015.
However, according to the Israeli Court, the government was not in a position to make such long-term commitments, "that binds the government to the outline, including no changes in legislation and opposing legislative initiatives for 10 years - can not stand", Israel's Supreme Court said.
David L. Stover, Noble Energys Chairman, President, and CEO, commented, The Courts ruling, while recognizing that timely natural gas development is a matter of strategic national interest for Israel, is disappointing and represents another risk to Leviathan timing.
"The supreme court's resolution severely threatens the development of Israel's gas reserves".
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".
Noam Pincu, an analyst at Psagot Investment House Ltd., called the court's decision "terrible news for the gas industry".
Noble and Delek have held off on developing Leviathan, a $5-$6 billion investment, until the deal was approved. "Companies had signaled they wouldn't invest without some kind of outlook for the future". "The current formulation of the provisions of stability is distasteful and it may harm Israel's global status as the state would have to go back on promises which it gave" in previous agreements with the energy companies.
The gas deal has been occupying a central place of his agenda. Critics say the government's plan entrenches a gas monopoly and will increase prices for Israeli consumers. "A correct and courageous decision by the High Court", he tweeted.
Netanyahu, who led political and legal maneuvers to override the commissioner's objections, made an unprecedented appearance before the court in February to urge it to approve the regulation. The Leviathan field, the largest, is estimated to contain over 22 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Israel is considering exporting gas to Jordan, Egypt and possibly to Europe.