Israel's government has approved Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's proposal to cooperate with countries that supply natural gas. This decision validates recent years negotiations with British Gas (BG) for natural gas supplied by the company and its partners in the Palestinian Authority.
According to Ynetnews, if the deal is completed, an estimated sum of tens of millions of dollars will pour from Israel into the Palestinian Authority.
BG Group owns 90% of the rights to the Gaza Strip offshore natural gas field, with the PA and Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), owned by Lebanon's Houri family, owning the reminder. The PA has an option to increase its holding in the gas field to 40%.
The natural gas field off the Gaza coast, known as Gaza Marine, contains at least 37 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Israel is set to purchase natural gas from the British company and then sell it to private consumers. The contract is estimated at $1.5-2 billion over 15-20 years, Israel's business daily Globes has reported earlier this month.
According to the paper, there is opposition among the Palestinians to a natural gas deal with Israel.