Leviathan partners to pursue development without Woodside

Offshore staff

HOUSTON -- Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) and its partners aim to sanction a first-phase development of the deepwater Leviathan field offshore Israel by the end of this year.

Plans call for a 1.6-bcf/d FPSO system exporting natural gas to Israel and surrounding regional markets.  Front-end engineering and design studies are also under way for a second-phase development, anticipated to be a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) production system.

The Leviathan field, containing an estimated 19 tcf of discovered resources, is in around 5,550 ft (1,691 m) of water.

Woodside Petroleum will not be involved after the partners agreed to terminate a non-binding memorandum of understanding. This concerned the sale of up to 25% to Woodside in the 349/Rachel and 350/Amit petroleum licenses containing Leviathan.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said that this was a difficult decision and one that was not taken lightly. “All parties have worked very hard to secure an outcome which would be commercially acceptable, but after many months of negotiations it is time to acknowledge we will not get there under the current proposal.”

Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's chairman and CEO, added: "The plans for development of the Leviathan discovery have significantly changed since we began the search for a partner approximately two years ago.  Perhaps the most dramatic changes have been associated with the growth in the regional markets.

“The emergence of these regional markets, which are accessible through pipeline outlet, has pushed the need for LNG into a later phase of development versus our earlier plans.” One project under consideration is an export pipeline to neighboring Cyprus.


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