Israel renews talks with Gazprom

National Infrastructures Minister Ben-Eliezer sees gas supply from Gazprom as strategically important.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that senior officials at the Ministry of National Infrastructures, including director general Hezi Kugler, left for Russia this week, apparently in order to meet representatives of Russian energy giant Gazprom. It is believed the aim of the meeting is to make progress on an agreement for the supply of natural gas from Russia to Israel, following the talks the governments of the two countries held on the deal last year.

Gazprom is the world's fourth largest energy company, holding one quarter of the world's natural gas reserves. The Russian company has been mooted in recent years as one of the potential suppliers to the Israeli economy, and Ministry of National Infrastructures Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said last year that a partnership with Gazprom was a strategic need for Israel.

The governments of Israel and Russia agreed a year ago to begin talks on a 30- year framework agreement for the supply of gas, which would be backed by a diplomatic agreement. However, no progress has been made since then. Responding to a query from "Globes" a month ago, the National Infrastructures denied that Gazprom had threatened to call off the talks which, they insisted, were continuing.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 28, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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