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Israeli advisory council recommends approval of Chevron takeover of Noble

Highlights

Chevron entry to lead to 'unlimited' possibilities: minister

US major to buy Noble in $5 billion deal

Noble is operator of Leviathan, Tamar gas fields

London — Israel's advisory Petroleum Council has recommended the country's energy ministry approve US major Chevron's $5 billion takeover of Noble Energy, operator of the Leviathan and Tamar offshore gas fields.

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In a statement, energy minister Yuval Steinitz said Chevron's entry into the country's gas industry was a "huge expression of confidence" in Israel's energy sector.

Chevron and Noble announced the deal in July, and, if completed, it will see Chevron take over as operator of the two giant Israeli gas fields.

"The Petroleum Council's recommendation to approve the entry of Chevron into Israel will make the possibilities of the Israeli energy industry unlimited," Steinitz said.

Gas production from the giant Leviathan field, which holds 22 Tcf (620 Bcm) of recoverable gas reserves, began at the end of December last year.

It was discovered in 2010 but development was slow due to difficulty monetizing the resource.

It was finally agreed in February 2018 for Leviathan gas to be exported to Egypt under a long-term contract with local Egyptian supplier Dolphinus Holdings.

Leviathan is the second major gas field in Israel to begin production following the 2013 start-up of the Noble-operated Tamar field, which continues to serve the domestic market.

Tamar will also be used to supply Egypt under the Dolphinus deal.

Israel as 'energy power'

Steinitz said Chevron's entry was another step in turning Israel into an "energy power."

The ministry said it was the first time that one of the world's energy majors had decided to integrate into operations in Israel.

Chevron's entry has "huge" potential for promoting the continued development of the Leviathan field as well as export projects and the continuation of gas exploration in Israel, it said.

"The approval of the deal will greatly assist the Israeli energy economy," it said.

At the time of the deal, Chevron said the acquisition provided it with "low-cost, proved reserves and attractive undeveloped resources that will enhance an already advantaged upstream portfolio," although it has run into some opposition from investors.

"Noble brings low-capital, cash-generating offshore assets in Israel, strengthening Chevron's position in the Eastern Mediterranean," it said.

In the East Mediterranean, Noble produces a net 311 MMcf/d (9 million cu m/d) of gas equivalent, according to a September investor presentation.