Jordan set for Leviathan gas

Offshore Israel: the phase one development concept of the Leviathan field, involving offshore processing with a northern entry point

Noble Energy and partners in the Leviathan gas field off Israel are in discussions with Jordan over a potential long-term gas sales agreement.

The US independent and others at the huge discovery have signed a letter of intent to negotiate the sale of 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas over 15 years to the Mediterranean nation, Noble said, adding the agreement is non-binding.

"Sales volumes under the agreement are anticipated to begin at a rate of 300 million cubic feet per day," Noble continued.

The price would be similar to that agreed with other nations and would be linked to the Brent crude oil price, with a minimum value element.

A deal is expected to be finalised this year.

In April the field partners submitted a bid to supply Cyprus with between 700 million and 950 million cubic feet of gas per annum between 2016 and 2025. An export agreement to supply gas to the Palestinian electricity company for power generation has already been signed.

Apart from Noble, Delek Group subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each hold stakes in the Leviathan gas field, along with compatriot Ratio Oil Exploration.

Noble recently received a significant boost at Leviathan after estimates of the volume of gas were increased by 16% to some 22 trillion cubic feet.

Netherland Sewell & Associates estimated Leviathan’s contingent resources as being 21.93 Tcf of gas and 39.4 million barrels of condensate. These figures compare to previous estimates of 18.91 Tcf and 34.1 million barrels, respectively.

This latest uptick in Leviathan’s resources came less than two months after Woodside Petroleum pulled out of long-running talks to farm in to the asset.

One reason the Australian player is believed to have withdrawn were uncertainties about whether some of Leviathan’s gas would underpin a liquefied natural gas export plant, particularly given interest from countries such as Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt and Jordan to import Israeli gas via pipelines.

However, LNG exports are still being studied by the Noble-led partners, with both floating liquefaction and onshore LNG plant options being examined alongside potential pipeline shipments to an onshore export facility on Cyprus.

Recently, there have been proposals to pipe Leviathan gas to Egypt for exports from that country’s under-utilised LNG export plants, though such talk is at an early stage.

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