Israeli gas field may supply facility in Egypt

Noble Energy reaches preliminary deal to sell natural gas to Israel’s one-time energy provider

Illustrative photo of an oil rig in the Mediterranean Sea. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of an oil rig in the Mediterranean Sea. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

JERUSALEM — The operator of a natural gas field off Israel’s coast said it has signed a letter of intent to provide gas to a facility in Egypt.

Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. reached the preliminary deal to sell gas to Union Fenosa Gas SA for its liquefied natural gas facility in Egypt. The deal calls for providing up to 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas over 15 years. It said the sides hoped to reach a final agreement within six months. It would then need regulatory approval in Israel and Egypt.

Keith Elliott, Noble Energy’s senior vice president for the region, called the deal a “major milestone” for the Tamar gas field, which began production last year.

Until recently, Egypt provided natural gas to Israel. But following the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, supplies were disrupted and eventually halted.

Noble operates the Tamar field with a group of Israeli partners, including Isramco Negev 2, Delek drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Dor gas Exploration.

Israel began pumping gas from the large Tamar field off its coast earlier this year. It is expected to begin exporting when a second, larger field Leviathan goes online in 2016.

The Israeli Cabinet last year approved exporting 40 percent of Israel’s newfound natural gas reserves.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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