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Delek Drilling, Avner Rise Most in Week on Gazprom Talks Report

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Delek Drilling-LP and Avner Oil Exploration LLP, partners in the Leviathan gas field, rose the most in more than a week after Calcalist reported their biggest shareholder held talks with Russia’s Gazprom OAO.

Delek Drilling advanced 2 percent, the most since Feb. 19, to 13.55 shekels, at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. Avner gained 2.4 percent, also the most since Feb. 19, to 2.48 shekels. Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP, another partner in the field, advanced 8.5 percent, the most since Nov. 13, to 0.344 shekel.

Calcalist reported a delegation from Russia’s Gazprom met with representatives of Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. and Delek Energy Systems Ltd., which has stakes in Delek Drilling and Avner. They discussed joint-venture possibilities and investments regarding the Leviathan field, the newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information. The field is Israel’s biggest reservoir of natural gas.

“This is critical news,” said Tal Shirizly, head of research at Psagot Investment House Ltd. “We are talking about a big market leader that may become a strategic partner for the development of the field and finding customers for its gas. This brings a very positive sentiment to the sector.”

A spokesman for Delek Energy declined to comment on the Calcalist report.

The Leviathan field may hold as much as 20 trillion cubic feet of gas, Noble Energy, a partner in the field, said in a Dec. 19 statement. It discovered the field in 2010, off the coast of Israel.

Delek Energy shares rose 2.5 percent. Delek Group Ltd., which also has stakes in Avner and Delek Drilling, advanced 2.5 percent to 683.50 shekels.

Oil explorer Isramco Negev 2 LP advanced 2.6 percent, while Paz Oil Co.Ltd., a manufacturer of petroleum-based products, gained 4 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at ssolomon22@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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