Israel’s Leviathan gas development at risk for delay: Noble
JERUSALEM - ReutersNoble Energy warned of the risk of a delay to the development of the Leviathan natural gas field off Israel’s coast after Israel’s Supreme Court blocked a crucial provision of a plan to develop the site.
The court late on March 27 approved most of the plan except for a stability clause vital to Texas-based Noble and Delek Group, its Israeli partner, which binds the government to the deal for 10 years.
The court gave the two sides up to one year to come up with an alternative legal mechanism for the government providing stability assurances.
Noble on March 28 called the court’s decision disappointing “and represents another risk to Leviathan’s timing,” in which the companies had hoped to complete the field’s development by the end of 2019.
“Development of a project of this magnitude, where large investments are to be made over multiple years, requires Israel to provide a stable investment climate,” said David Stover, Noble’s chief executive. “Noble Energy has consistently maintained that stability is a minimum condition for project development, and our position has not changed.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached a framework deal last year with Noble and Delek that would leave them in control of the country’s largest gas field, Leviathan, while forcing them to sell smaller, yet sizeable, assets.
“We will vigorously defend our rights related to our assets to protect shareholder value,” Stover said. “It is now up to the government of Israel to deliver a solution which at least meets the terms of the framework, and to do so quickly.”