Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has made a bid to become a strategic partner in Israel’s offshore Leviathan gas field, where resources are estimated at 17 tcf (480 bcm). Woodside’s offer for a 30% stake in Leviathan “reflects a value of $7.5bn, compared with analysts’ estimates of $4.7-5.5bn for the gas field,” Israel’s Globes commented, but added that the bid is subject to a number of conditions that could lower the final offer. Leviathan partners are taking the bid under review and a partner could be selected within weeks.

The partners in the Leviathan field – US firm Noble Energy, Delek Group subsidiaries and Ratio Oil Exploration – have expressed their interest in developing Leviathan for LNG export – possibly through an LNG facility located in Cyprus – but will need a strategic partner experienced in LNG to carry the project through. Currently, the target date for Leviathan production start-up is a tentative 2017. But exports from Leviathan and other Israeli fields will depend on whether the Israeli government’s export policy follows the recommendations put forward by the Zemach Committee earlier this year. They insist that the lion’s share of Israeli gas be held in reserve but allow for as much as 75% of Leviathan gas reserves to be available for export, and also leave open the possibility that Israeli hydrocarbons could be exported via other countries, such as Cyprus, if a suitable export site in Israel cannot be found. (CONTINUED - 1080 WORDS)