Leviathan Gas Field Partners Set for Talks to Supply BG in Egypt

Partners in Israel’s Leviathan offshore natural gas field signed a letter of intent to hold talks with a subsidiary of BG Group Plc about supplying the company’s gas-liquefying plant in Egypt.

The letter sets out terms of a final accord, including the sale of 7 billion cubic meters of gas a year for 15 years at a price to be determined, the partners said today. Gas would be supplied at the Leviathan platform and delivered by pipeline to BG International (NSW) Ltd.’s plant at Idku, Egypt, according to a filing that Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP and two units of Delek Group Ltd. made to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The 2010 discovery of Leviathan, coming after the nearby Tamar find, is proving a bonanza for Israel, which expects the gas to meet its needs for a quarter of a century and also enable it to sell to other countries. Egypt formerly supplied gas to Israel until repeated sabotage of a pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula led the Arab nation to cancel the exports in 2012.

“This is an opening shot for the development of Leviathan,” Guil Bashan, an analyst at Tel Aviv-based IBI-Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd., said by phone today. “The supply at the platform implies BG will be building the pipeline and all the infrastructure to transport the gas, which means much lower capital expenditure and lower risk for the Leviathan partners.”

Tamar Agreement

The partners signed their non-binding letter of intent on June 27, according to today’s filing by Delek Drilling-LP, Avner Oil Exploration LLP and Ratio Oil Exploration 1992. Noble Energy, Inc. of Houston, Texas, is the fourth and biggest partner in Leviathan, with a 39.7 percent stake. Noble said May 5 that it signed a non-binding agreement of intent to sell gas from the Tamar field to Union Fenosa Gas SA’s liquefied natural gas plant in Egypt.

Shares of Delek Drilling-LP and Avner Oil Exploration advanced 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, at the close in Tel Aviv. Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 gained 3.3 percent, the most since Feb. 2. Delek Group, which has stakes in Delek Drilling and Avner, added 0.4 percent.

Delek and Noble already have gas-supply agreements with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. “We expect more export deals for Leviathan, including Turkey, Cyprus and Jordan,” Bashan said.

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. scrapped an agreement last month to buy a quarter of Leviathan, Israel’s largest gas field, for as much as $2.6 billion.

Aside from Noble’s stake in the field, Delek Drilling and Avner hold 22.7 percent each and Ratio Oil Exploration has 15 percent.

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