Noble Energy agrees to invest $3.75 billion in Israeli natural gas reservoir

Senior officials in Noble Energy and in Israel’s government hailed a new investment Israeli natural gas as a major geopolitical and economic boon for Israel.

US energy giant Noble Energy agreed on Thursday to invest $3.75 billion in Israel’s Leviathan gas field, located off the Mediterranean Coast and estimated to contain 535 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

“Bringing Leviathan online will expand Israel’s supply of natural gas, further support the State’s commitment to convert coal-fired power generation facilities to cleaner burning gas, and provide affordable energy resources to Israeli citizens and neighboring countries in the undersupplied region,” stated Noble Energy’s CEO David L. Stover.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concurred with Stover in a similarly worded statement on Twitter.

“This is a good news day for the economy and citizens of Israel,” wrote Netanyahu. “The move will provide a supply of gas to the State of Israel and will advance our cooperation with regional partners.”

Noble Energy’s manager in Israel, Binyamin Zomer, touted not only the potential economic and geopolitical benefits for Israel but the environmental benefits as well.

“Development of the Leviathan project is another milestone in the fulfillment of Israel’s energy security and will bring benefits in the air quality and health of Israel’s citizens, who will also benefit from increased government revenues and from a path to better relations with their neighbors in the region,” he said.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, for his part, expressed optimism regarding the prospects of Israel’s future in the global energy market.

“If we continue on a responsible and steadfast path, we will also succeed in discovering more gas fields, positioning Israel as an important player in the energy market alongside our neighbors in the Middle East and Europe,” he said.

Noble Energy, which holds a share of almost 40% (39.66%) of the Leviathan reservoir, along with its other gas partners that include Israel’s Delek Group, hope to get the gas field online in 2019.  The agreed gas “outline” over the Leviathan field, that was reached between the energy giants and the Israeli government, has faced some domestic resistance in Israel from critics who fear that the arrangement would minimize competition and create a monopoly in the energy industry.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News