Noble Energy to supply Israeli gas to Jordan’s power company

Noble Energy plans to supply natural gas from a massive gas field offshore Israel to Jordan’s National Electric Power Company, the Houston-based oil exploration company announced Wednesday.

The two signed a non-binding letter of intent that would provide Jordan with 1.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over 15 years from the Leviathan field in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. That’s equal to 300 million cubic feet per day.

The price of the deal remains under negotiation. Noble expects the agreement will be final by this year, subject to regulatory approvals in Israel and Jordan.

Noble’s discovery of the Leviathan field in 2010 was the largest find in the company’s history and the world’s largest deepwater natural gas discovery in a decade. In the years since, estimates of the Leviathan’s natural gas capacity have been revised upward from 19 trillion cubic feet to 22 trillion cubic feet, the company said.

The Leviathan, along with an earlier offshore discovery called Tamar, could provide enough natural gas to supply Israel for the next 100 years, allowing Noble to primarily develop the Leviathan for exports, Keith Elliott, Noble’s senior vice president for the Eastern Mediterranean said in an interview with Fuel Fix.

Long considered barren of oil and gas, Israel historically was forced to import all of its energy resources from often unfriendly neighbors, but the recent sizable discoveries will enable Israel to export gas for the first time. Israel has decided to keep 60 percent of its gas for domestic use and allow 40 percent for export.

Noble has working in the region to secure arrangements for both the Tamar and Leviathan fields.

In June, the company announced plans to sell 700 million cubic feet of Leviathan gas to existing natural gas liquefaction facilities in Egypt over 15 years.

Noble has also made arrangements with Jordanian businesses and the Palestinian Authority to export gas extracted from the Tamar field, where operations have begun.

“By doing what we do, we have the opportunity to bring geopolitical solutions as well,” Elliott said. “It’s not our business, but it seems to be contributing to that.”

With the recently announced Jordan arrangement, Noble has  secured letters of intent for 60 percent of the Leviathan’s initial capacity, the company said.

Noble operates the Leviathan and has a nearly 40 percent interest. Other stakeholders include three Israeli companies: Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration with a 23 percent interest each, and Ratio Oil Exploration with 15 percent.