Israel gas partners close to $4-billion financing for Leviathan

By Yaacov Benmeleh on 11/21/2016

TEL AVIV (Bloomberg) -- The companies that own the rights to Israel’s largest natural gas pool are close to securing the $4-billion financing needed to develop the field, according to the CEO of one of the partners.

"The Leviathan financing agreements are in the final stages of negotiations," Delek Drilling LP CEO Yossi Abu said in a Tel Aviv conference on Monday, referring to the Israeli gas reservoir.

With a large export contract already in hand, obtaining the funds is the next milestone for the gas explorers looking to tap the Leviathan pool, led by U.S.-based Noble Energy and billionaire Yitzchak Teshuva’s Delek Group Ltd. The partners signed a $10-billion deal with Natural Electric Power Co. of Jordan two months ago.

The companies have been in talks with major banks ever since clearing antitrust issues with Israel’s government earlier this year. Ratio Oil Exploration 1992 LP, which owns a 15% stake in Leviathan, has sold new debt and equity this year, raising about a third of its $600-million portion of the project.

The Leviathan partners will decide on a strategy to deploy the funds in December, Abu said.

The TA-Oil & Gas Index rose as much as 1.1%, before paring gains to 0.6% at 12:54 p.m. in Tel Aviv.

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