Russia's Gazprom passed on Tamar investment

Gazprom also mulled buying a stake in Tamar partner Isramco.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Russian energy giant Gazprom at one time considered investing in the Tamar natural gas prospect offshore from Haifa and buying a stake in Tamar partner Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L). The topics were mentioned in a civil suit submitted with the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court in May 2008 by Infinity Investment House CEO Nissim Digilenty against Isramco CEO Yossi Levy for a NIS 63,000 reimbursement.

Isramco and Infinity Investment House have been embroiled in a legal dispute for several years, with party suing and counter-suing the other. Digilenty's lawsuit claims that he tried to mediate between Isramco and Gazprom. He claims that the parties agreed in advance to reimburse him for international trips, but that Isramco reneged.

Isramco said in response that Infinity Investment House are conducting business negotiations related to oil explorations, and that Infinity would cover all travel costs.

Gazprom has been trying to enter the Israeli energy market for years. Missing out on the Tamar prospect is a major loss, because the gas discovery at the prospect would have enabled the company to become a major supplier to Israel and other countries in the Mediterranean Basin.

The Tamar discovery also puts an end to possible Israeli gas imports from Russia via Turkey via the proposed undersea infrastructure conduit, which would have cost $2-3 billion to build.

Yossi Levy said in response, "There were preliminary talks with Gazprom after BG Group announced that it was quitting the Tamar prospect in 2005. Gazprom was interested in the exploration, but no deal was reached.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 17, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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