Delek Group Ltd., the holding company owning stakes in Israel’s two largest natural gas fields, advanced to a record after the country’s high court paved the way for exports of the fuel.
The shares of the company, whose interests include the offshore Tamar and Leviathan fields, climbed 2.9 percent to 1,225 shekels, the highest since the shares started trading, at the close in Tel Aviv. Volume was 125 percent of the three-month daily average, with the stock posting the second-biggest gain by percentage points on the benchmark TA-25 Index, which increased 0.3 percent.
The Israel High Court rejected appeals by environmental groups and members of parliament to overturn a government decision enabling the export of 40 percent of gas production. Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, said the court decision adds certainty to gas policy and said it anticipates completing a deal agreed to in December to pay as much as $2.3 billion for a stake in Leviathan.
“This decision lifts the regulatory uncertainty hanging over the gas explorers,” Hadar Oshrat, head of equity sales & trading at Deutsche Bank AG in Tel Aviv, said today by e-mail. “It will help draw investors into gas shares.”
Israel has discovered enough natural gas under the Mediterranean to supply the country for decades while leaving plenty left over for exports. Tamar started production in March. Leviathan, at almost twice the size, is scheduled to come on stream in 2016.
Delek Group’s shares have advanced 40 percent this year compared with a 10 percent jump in the benchmark gauge as the the group has sold non-energy assets to focus on its oil and gas business.
The Netanya, Israel-based company owns stakes in the fields via its holdings in Delek Drilling-LP and Avner Oil Exploration LLP. Delek Drilling increased 2.1 percent and Avner gained 2.6 percent to a record 3.056 shekels.
Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP, also a partner in Leviathan, surged 9.1 percent.