Australia's Woodside agrees to buy 25 pct of Israel's Leviathan gas field

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-2-10 9:13:53

Australia's Woodside Petroleum has pledged to buy a quarter of the Leviathan gas field located off Israel in agreement many analysts are hailing as a "landmark deal" for Israel's gas exploration sector.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed on Friday between Woodside and the Leviathan partners, the Australian energy giant will acquire a 25 percent stake in Leviathan for up to 2.71 billion US dollars.

"The deal marks a new era for Israel's gas sector," Adam Rotter of Aylon Investments House told Xinhua on Sunday. "The joining of Woodside to the Leviathan project takes Israel closer to becoming a gas exporter and opens new possibilities on the international gas market," Rotter said.

Discovered in 2010, Leviathan holds about 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which makes it the largest off-shore gas discovery in the last decade.

Under the new deal, Texas-based Noble Energy, which operates the field, will remain its main partner with a 30 percent stake, while the share of the Israel-based Delek and Avner will be diluted to 16.9 percent each, and Ratio Oil will be diluted to 11. 1 percent.

"The largest company in Australia decided to invest in Israel after lengthy negotiations," Isaac Tshuva, the control holder of Delek, said Sunday on Army Radio. "For Israel, this is a major achievement."

"This investment of billions will create new jobs and contribute significantly to the growth of the Israeli economy and the continued establishment of Israel as a major international player in the gas," Tshuva added.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said the deal is strategically important for his company as a mean to diversify out of Australia.

Woodside is a leader in the field of liquefied natural gas and holds export contracts with Asian markets, including deals with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

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