Delek Surges on Woodside’s Leviathan Field Bid: Tel Aviv Mover

Delek Group Ltd., which has an indirect stake in Israel’s largest natural gas field, surged after partners in the prospect said Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. submitted a bid for a project stake.

Delek Group advanced 5.7 percent to 761 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv, the highest close since April 11. Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP, a partner in the Leviathan field, rose 6.6 percent to 0.34 shekel, the highest level since April 24. Delek Drilling-LP and Avner Oil Exploration LLP, also partners, advanced 3.5 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

The Leviathan partners said today that international exploration and production gas firms have submitted bids to acquire as much as a 30 percent stake. Woodside, Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, submitted “a bid which is being studied by the partners,” the companies said in a filing in the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange.

“This is excellent news, Woodside has expertise in liquified natural gas and piping and this is what Leviathan partners are looking for,” Ella Fried, a senior analyst at Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., said today by phone.

Noble Energy Inc. discovered the Leviathan gas field in Israel’s deep waters in 2010, when it was the world’s largest find of its kind in a decade. The explorer plans a deeper well next year to search for Israel’s first offshore crude finds, Chief Executive Officer Charles Davidson said on a July 26 conference call with investors.

Development Strategy

A partnership with an international company is part of the strategy for developing the field, Delek Drilling said in a filing with the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange on Sept. 9. Woodside Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman met today with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to an e-mailed message from the premier’s office today.

Woodside is seeking to broaden its portfolio of oil and gas assets to meet growth targets. In August the Perth company said it is studying expansion options in the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Delek Drilling and Avner each hold a 22.67 percent stake in the Leviathan project, while Ratio holds 15 percent. Noble Energy Mediterranean Ltd. owns a 39.66 percent stake, the filing today said.

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