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The Leviathan Gas Field: Noble Energy’s Key Discovery

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Dec. 2 2016, Published 5:58 p.m. ET

Leviathan gas field

In December 2010, Noble Energy (NBL) announced a major natural gas discovery at Leviathan, off the shore of Israel. NBL considers the Leviathan gas field to be its “largest exploration discovery” and estimates that it holds 22 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) of recoverable natural gas resources. The company believes this massive discovery positions Israel as a “natural gas exporting nation.”

Noble Energy is the operator of the Leviathan field, with an ~39.7% working interest. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, subsidiaries of the Delek Group, are the other partners in the project and hold a working interest of ~22.7% each. Ratio Oil Exploration holds the remaining 15%.

However, the field has yet to commence production, owing largely to bureaucratic obstructions. One of the major concerns held by Israel’s antitrust regulators was that Noble Energy and the other partners could potentially have a monopoly over Israel’s natural gas (UNL) resources.

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Tamar field

Noble Energy (NBL) also has significant operations in Tamar, a separate Israeli offshore field. NBL recently sold a 3% stake in the Tamar gas field for $369 million. We’ll discuss the Tamar gas field in more detail in the next part of this series.

However, good news came in the form of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, finally approving development in the Leviathan field on May 22, 2016.

Following this news, Noble Energy and its partners plan to start pumping gas between 2019–2020. They also plan to export natural gas to Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt.

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