Noble Energy urges Israel to sanction gas deal for Mediterranean fields

Published September 5th, 2015 - 07:00 GMT

The Israeli government is called on to move in favor of a regulatory framework needed to exploit Mediterranean gas assets, Noble Energy said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month moved on a regulatory deal outlining the way forward on the development of the Leviathan and Tamar natural gas fields off the nation's coast. Noble, a Houston-based company with a stake in the fields, said it was now up to the parliament to sanction the deal "without delay."

The Israel Antitrust Authority had ruled that Israeli energy company Delek Group and its partners at Noble Energy, which has headquarters in Texas, control all of the gas reservoirs off the nation's coast.

Both companies control the Leviathan natural gas field, considered one of the region's largest with an estimated 18 trillion cubic feet of reserves. They also control the nearby Tamar, estimated to hold up to 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

"Regional demand supports the further development of our world-class Tamar and Leviathan fields," Noble Chief Executive Officer David Stover said in a statement. "We are confident that the quality of our Israel assets, extensive appraisal and planning efforts, and proven track record of project execution and operating performance position us well to supply natural gas to the substantially underserved regional market."

A compromise deal from 2014 called on Noble and Delek to sell their stakes in the Karish and Tanin fields off the coast of Israel, which combine for an average 20.5 trillion cubic feet of reserves, in exchange for maintaining their holdings in Leviathan and Tamar.

Noble said it's seen interest from the Egyptian government about the import of natural gas from Israel for domestic use and to facilitate liquefied natural gas exports. In August, Italian energy company ENi said the discovery of what may be the world's largest gas field off the Egyptian coast could "transform the energy scenario" in the North African country.

By Daniel J. Graeber

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