Woodside Leviathan purchase comes as Asia-Pacific oil demand doubles

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Australian oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has bought the rights to drill off the coast of Israel in the Leviathan field in the Mediterranean Sea, which is expected to contain about 17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, MarketWatch reported.

The $1.2 billion deal by Woodside has brought oil and gas acquisitions in the Asia-Pacific region to a record $99 billion in 2012, falling in line with the United States oil and gas acquisitions for the first time, Bloomberg reported. About $696 million will be paid to Noble Energy Inc., a Houston-based company and the primary operator of the Leviathan field.

Demand for oil and gas assets among Asia-Pacific companies in 2011 more than doubled that of the world's average of 2.5 percent, according to Bloomberg. Rising energy demands in the region have encouraged companies to invest in fields across the world, from North America to Africa. For instance, energy use in China is expected to increase 16 percent in the next three years.

"There are so many more options for Asian companies now with new discoveries around the world," said Laban Yu, head of Asian oil and gas equity research at Jefferies Hong Kong Ltd, according to Bloomberg. "The trend will be led by China, which has a large foreign- exchange reserve and is seeking hard assets."

PennEnergy's research area offers details on the energy demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

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