U.S. independent oil and gas company Noble Energy has moved a step closer to the development of the giant gas find in the Mediterranean – the Leviathan – after Israel’s government made a move to implement the natural gas framework.
According to Noble Energy, which runs the field with Israel’s Delek Group, this means that the joint venture operating the field will be exempted from claims of the Anti-trust Authority.
To remind, David Gilo, the Israeli Antitrust Authority’s director, earlier this year recently branded the consortium a monopoly, as they own Israel’s most important gas assets, the Tamar and the Leviathan. The Anti-Trust Authority is responsible for enforcing the law regarding government intervention to maintain appropriate levels of competition in the economy.
Gilo resigned in August, saying that draft agreements, if ratified, would lead to less competition in and the gas sector put under control of a monopoly.
Netanyahu pens the deal
However, Israel’s on Prime Miniister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday signed a gas framework deal, bypassing the Anti-Trust authority, saying he acted to protect Israel’s energy security.
He also said that, while Israel will be getting a relateively cheap source of energy, the development of Leviathan is also important for foreign relations as several countries are interested in the gas that will be produced from the field.
In a statement issued Thursday, Noble said that the natural gas framework to be implemented by the Israeli government provided the regulatory certainty and stability needed to proceed with the development of both the Tamar expansion and Leviathan, while providing transparency for future domestic pricing and natural gas competition in Israel.
FID in 2016
Noble Energy, the operator of Leviathan, on also said said it has continued to take steps to move forward with development of Leviathan and the Tamar expansion by advancing technical work and negotiating gas sales agreements.
The U.S. independent also said it was updating and finalizing capital investment requirements. The company expects to reach the final investment decisions (FID) for both projects – Leviathan and Tamar extension – be taken before the end of 2016.
Noble Energy operates Tamar and Leviathan with 36 percent and nearly 40 percent working interests, respectively.
Keith Elliott, Senior Vice President, Eastern Mediterranean, commented, “We are pleased that the Government of Israel, under the leadership of the Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, has recognized the importance of natural gas development to the security and economy of Israel and the region. This enables us to move forward with development planning. The high quality of the Tamar and Leviathan reservoirs, combined with Noble Energy’s strong track record of major project execution, gives us confidence that these world-class assets are well positioned to meet the growing and undersupplied natural gas demand of Israeli and regional customers.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff