Noble about to start up major Leviathan project in Israel





Houston-based Noble Energy, which operates this platform in the Tamar field off Israel’s coast, has resolved an antitrust dispute that had stalled expansion of Tamar and development of another Mediterranean field, the Leviathan (Noble Energy photo) less

Houston-based Noble Energy, which operates this platform in the Tamar field off Israel’s coast, has resolved an antitrust dispute that had stalled expansion of Tamar and development of another Mediterranean … more

Photo: Noble Energy





Houston-based Noble Energy, which operates this platform in the Tamar field off Israel’s coast, has resolved an antitrust dispute that had stalled expansion of Tamar and development of another Mediterranean field, the Leviathan (Noble Energy photo) less

Houston-based Noble Energy, which operates this platform in the Tamar field off Israel’s coast, has resolved an antitrust dispute that had stalled expansion of Tamar and development of another Mediterranean … more

Photo: Noble Energy




Noble about to start up major Leviathan project in Israel

Noble Energy is on the verge of starting up the massive Leviathan natural gas project offshore of Israel any day now after a final legal hurdle was cleared Thursday.

The $4 billion Leviathan project led by Houston-based Noble is expected to turn Israel into a legitimate energy player in the Middle East for the first time. On Thursday, a judge lifted an injunction that threatened to delay production because of environmental concerns.

Noble has planned Leviathan’s startup for late December with its Israeli partner Delek Group

Noble also recently paid $185 million for a stake in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas pipeline that funnels natural gas from Israel to Egypt, which will be a major buyer of the new gas supplies.

Israel has long been the odd-man out, energy-wise, in the Middle East, home to some of the world’s biggest oil producers. That changed a decade ago when Noble discovered natural gas in the Tamar field about 50 miles off the Israeli coast, in waters more than 5,000 feet deep. Noble followed that in 2010 with another discovery in the larger Leviathan field, about 30 miles southwest of Tamar.

RELATED: Israel comes to Houston, seeking partners to develop gas reserves

And it’s been a long and often bumpy road to Noble to get to this point.

Israel’s regulatory framework for developing the gas fields is new and untested, as Noble’s experience illustrated. Amid public uproar and litigation over who should benefit from Israel’s s natural resources, the Israeli government eventually forced Noble to reduce its ownership stake and banned the Houston producer from participating in bidding for more offshore blocks to promote competition.

Noble last year sold 7.5 percent of its holdings in the Tamar project, reducing its stake to 35 percent. It holds approximately 40 percent in the Leviathan development.

Noble about to start up major Leviathan project in Israel

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