PERTH, Australia, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum announced it reached an in-principle agreement to acquire a stake in the Leviathan gas field offshore Israel.
Joint ventures tied to the giant Leviathan field off the coast of Israel reached an agreement in which the Australian energy company acquires a 30 percent interest in the field.
"Acquiring an interest in these permits is an exciting opportunity to grow our portfolio in the emerging Eastern Mediterranean basin and we look forward to finalizing the agreement," Woodside Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman said in a statement.
By Woodside's estimates, the Leviathan field contains around 17 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, making it among the largest recent finds in the world.
Under the agreement, Woodside would serve as the operator of any developments for liquefied natural gas from the field. Consortium partner Noble Energy expects initial production to target the Israeli market by 2016.
Preliminary work on LNG operations is under way.
Woodside said its in-principle agreement involves an upfront payment of $696 million.