Israeli natural gas requires patience

Aug. 22, 2013 at 8:32 AM

PERTH, Australia, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum said it was "prepared to be patient" with the Leviathan natural gas field as Israel mulls its export policies.

Woodside in December agreed to pay more than $1.2 billion in total compensation to take a 30 percent stake in the Leviathan natural gas field. The Mediterranean field is controlled currently by Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, Avner Oil and Gas and Ratio Oil Exploration.

An Israeli court is assessing Israel's natural gas policies to determine how much should be reserved for domestic use and how much should be exported.

Woodside Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman said the company hopes to get clarity regarding its investment decisions once the court makes a decision later this year.

"Leviathan is a world-class asset and a significant value-creating opportunity for Woodside so we're prepared to be patient and will work through any outstanding issues with the Leviathan joint venture to finalize this deal," Coleman was quoted Wednesday by the Platts news service as saying.

Leviathan could start commercial production by 2016. The U.S. Geological Survey said in a 2010 report the Levant Basin in the Mediterranean Sea could hold as much as 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Leviathan is the largest field in the region with 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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