Ratio, Delek Jump on Leviathan Investment Offers: Tel Aviv Mover

Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP, Delek Drilling-LP and Avner Oil Exploration LLP, partners in Israel’s largest natural gas field, rallied after the gas explorers said they got offers from “leading” international energy companies to invest in the Leviathan project.

Ratio, a partner in the Leviathan gas field, rose 7.9 percent to 0.288 shekel, the highest close since July 2. Delek Drilling and Avner, also partners, advanced 7 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. The TA-Oil & Gas Index rose 4.9 percent, the most since Oct. 10, while the benchmark TA-25 Index advanced 1.5 percent.

The companies said they’re studying offers from international energy companies for an investment of as much as 30 percent of the rights to the licenses and may enter negotiations, according to a filing with the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange today. Israel should allow as much as 500 billion cubic meters (18 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas to be exported, a government panel said Aug. 29.

“The panel’s recommendation has opened the doors to foreign investors as it has lifted uncertainty about exports,” Eran Yunger, an analyst at Migdal Capital Markets, said today by phone. “The investment will allow the companies to capitalize on their investment and to further develop the field.”

Significant Supply

At least 760 billion cubic meters of gas has been discovered off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, giving the country the opportunity to become a gas exporter. The Tamar and Dalit fields are due to start production next year and are big enough to supply the country with gas for two decades. The larger Leviathan field is estimated to hold as much as much as 480 billion cubic meters of gas, more than the U.K.’s remaining reserves.

OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, said on Aug. 20 it’s continuing to study opportunities to participate in energy projects in Israel.

“The news of a foreign investor is injecting optimism to the whole sector,” Yunger said.

Isramco Negev 2 LP, a partner in the Tamar gas field, gained 2.8 percent to 0.472 shekel. Delek Group Ltd., which has stakes in Delek Drilling and Avner, rose 5.9 percent, the most since Nov. 13, to 586.5 shekels.

Delek Drilling and Avner each hold a 22.67 percent stake in the Leviathan project, and Ratio has a 15 percent stake. Nobel Energy Mediterranean Ltd. owns a 39.66 percent stake, today’s filing said.

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