Israel's sovereign wealth fund to 'avoid direct investment' in fossil fuels

i24NEWS

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View of the Leviathan gas field gas processing rig near the Israeli city of Caesarea, on January 31, 2019.
Marc Israel Sellem/POOLView of the Leviathan gas field gas processing rig near the Israeli city of Caesarea, on January 31, 2019.

Fund's chairman tells parliamentary committee that decision was made to not invest in oil and gas companies

Israel's sovereign wealth fund will "avoid direct investment" in oil and gas companies, the fund's chairman said on Tuesday.

Yoram Ariav told a Knesset (Israel's parliament) committee with oversight of the fund that the decision was made on Monday to not invest in fossil fuels.

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The Israeli Citizens' Fund was set up to invest in windfall profits from the discovery of natural gas and other natural resources.

The Finance Ministry and Tax Authority officially launched the fund on June 1 after it met the minimum threshold of $301 million (1 billion shekel) set in the 2014 law that established the fund.

Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed an order to transfer 1.14 billion shekels in levies accumulated.

The fund was expected to begin operating in 2018. However, political turmoil and a slower stream of revenue caused delays.

The fund contains revenues from excess profit taxes imposed on Israel's natural gas fields in territorial waters in the Mediterranean and natural resource production including potash, bromine and phosphates.

Israel discovered massive deposits of natural gas in the Mediterranean a decade ago, with major production starting in 2013.

Most of the money has come from the Tamar gas field, located in Israel's exclusive economic zone roughly 50 miles west of Haifa in the Mediterranean Sea. 

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