Noble closes in on Leviathan gas FPSO award

Diving in: a teenager jumps from the ramparts into to the Mediterranean sea close to Haifa, Israel

US independent Noble Energy is leaning toward a final decision this summer between SBM and BW Offshore on a floating production, storage and offloading contractor to deliver a gas FPSO for the Leviathan gas field off Israel.

BW is believed to have its nose in front of SBM, but no official decision has yet been disclosed regarding the multi-billion-dollar project.

Officials with both contractors could not be reached for comment as Upstream went to press.

The FPSO is central to the first phase development of about 19 trillion cubic feet of gas from Leviathan, with an onboard processing capacity of 1.6 billion cubic feet per day.

The gas will be piped to a new fixed platform in much shallower water off Haifa before coming onshore.

SBM’s bid could have been tarnished a bit by the ongoing investigation into alleged corruption at the company.

However, a source close to Noble Energy dismissed the idea and maintained that any bid evaluation would be done on the technical and economic merits only.

Local politics is thought to have slowed decision-making regarding where the gas pipeline will land, to whom the gas will be sold and how much of the gas treatment will take place onshore or offshore.

One proposal had a gas treatment plant sited less than 10 kilometres away from the Gaza strip, according to one source.

“It was getting pretty complicated,” this source remarked about those talks. The site identified was “pretty hazardous”. Also hampering the project was the farm-in last year and then pull-out of erstwhile partner Woodside.

Woodside was thought to bring liquefied natural gas expertise to the table and hopes of an investment decision including an LNG project sometime this year.

Woodside’s departure earlier this year leaves Noble alone with its Israeli partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration on the project.

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