Ratio Surges on Export Bets as Leviathan Updated: Tel Aviv Mover

Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP and Delek Drilling-LP, partners in Israel’s largest natural gas field, advanced on bets the government will approve exports as data showed higher reserves at the Leviathan field.

Ratio, a partner in the Leviathan gas field, rose 8.3 percent, the most since Aug. 30, to 0.339 shekel at the close in Tel Aviv in 2.7 times the three-month average daily volume. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration LLP, also a partner in the field, added 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. The two companies led advances on the benchmark TA-25 Index, which slipped 0.2 percent.

Gross contingent resources at the offshore Leviathan site are about 19 trillion cubic feet, or 5.5 percent more than previous estimates, consultants Netherland, Sewell & Associates Inc. said in a report dated and filed today to the Tel Aviv bourse. Silvan Shalom, Israel’s Minister of Energy and Water Resources, said today the Leviathan update will increase local supply and enable exports, according to an e-mailed statement.

“The upward revision of reserves is expected to positively affect a government decision on exports,” Guil Bashan, an analyst at IBI-Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said today by phone.

Natural gas discoveries off the coast of Israel are forecast to meet the country’s demand for the next 20 years and enable Israel to become a gas exporter. A government-appointed committee recommended in August that Israel allow as much as 500 billion cubic meters (18 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas to be exported. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government has still to approve the recommendations.

Policy Debate

Noble Energy Inc. in March, another partner in the field, increased the estimated recoverable gross mean resources of Leviathan to 18 trillion cubic feet from 17 trillion cubic feet.

The amount Israel should export has become a subject of debate, especially after the Myra and Sara wells were found to be dry holes after the committee’s report was published.

“We hope the government will speed up the decision on the committee recommendations in light of the reserves report”, Ratio’s Chief Executive Officer Yigal Landau said in a phone interview today. Ratio is in talks with Southeast Asian companies keen to enter into long-term agreements for Leviathan liquefied natural gas, he said.

Delek Group Ltd., which has stakes in Delek Drilling and Avner, advanced 1.8 percent.