Delek Taps JPMorgan, HSBC for $1.75 Billion Leviathan Funds

  • Loans to help pay for first stage of Israeli gas project
  • Leviathan gas field’s partners plan to start output in 2019

Israel-based Delek Group Ltd., controlled by billionaire Yitzchak Teshuva, secured as much as $1.75 billion in loans to help finance development of the country’s biggest natural gas reservoir. Israeli gas shares rose.

Delek units Delek Drilling LP and Avner Oil Exploration LLP will be able to borrow at least $1.5 billion in limited-recourse loans from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc, Delek Drilling said Sunday in an e-mailed statement. The funds will help pay for the first stage of Leviathan’s development, which includes contracts to supply the Israeli market and Jordan.

The Leviathan partners have been moving ahead to develop the offshore field since clearing up antitrust issues with Israel’s government earlier this year. Regulatory concerns had stalled the project, and the companies are planning to pump the first gas by 2019.

Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy Inc., which holds a 39.7 percent stake in Leviathan, has yet to raise its portion of the financing. Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP, which owns a 15 percent stake, has sold new debt and equity this year, raising about a third of its $600 million share of the project.

Variable-rate interest on Delek’s loans will be due every three months, according to the statement. The principal will have to be repaid in a single installment after four years, through the sale of bonds.

Shares in Delek Drilling, Ratio and Avner each gained more than 2 percent on the Tel Aviv stock exchange, helping the Tel Aviv Oil & Gas Index climb 1.7 percent, the most in two months, at 10:50 a.m. local time.

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