Revised plan pushes Leviathan development

Partners in deepwater Leviathan natural gas field offshore Israel have filed a revised development plan that increases production capacity to 21 billion cu m (bcm)/year from 16 bcm/year in the original plan. Development would be based on subsea completions linked by pipeline to a fixed platform.

Delek Group, whose subsidiaries Avner Oil Exploration LP and Delek Drilling LP, hold interests in the giant field, said the revision accommodates the gas framework agreement Leviathan partners reached with the government in December and advances development (OGJ Online, Dec. 17, 2015).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month made a rare personal appearance before the High Court to defend the framework agreement, which continues to face political opposition (OGJ Online, Feb. 15, 2016).

Delek said the revised development plan anticipates a final investment decision in the fourth quarter this year and a production start in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Noble Energy Inc. operates Leviathan field, which is in 1,645 m of water 130 km off Haifa. In addition to Leviathan development, the framework agreement covers expansion of production from nearby Tamar field, which produced an average 800 MMcfd last year, Noble said.

Delek said the revised Leviathan plan calls for eight production wells initially, two of which have been drilled. Development might occur in stages of four wells each.

A subsea pipeline would link wells with a fixed platform containing treatment equipment. Delek didn’t specify the platform’s location. From the platform, a pipeline with capacity of 12 bcm/year would carry treated gas to a connection point with the Israel National Gas Lines Ltd. system.

A separate pipeline from the platform with capacity of as much as 12 bcm/year would carry gas for export.

In a phased development, treatment capacity on the platform would be 12 bcm/year in the first stage and 9 bcm/year in the second.

Delek said the estimated cost of Leviathan development has been lowered to $5-6 billion from $6-7 billion in the original plan.

Leviathan interests are Noble Energy Mediterranean Ltd. 39.66%, Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration 22.67% each, and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP 15%.

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