May 22 Israel has approved a deal it hopes will fast-track development of the huge Leviathan offshore natural gas field and end years of regulatory uncertainty that has stifled the country's nascent oil and gas industry.
The Leviathan project hit a major obstacle in March when Israel's Supreme Court blocked a previous agreement that bound the state to the terms of the deal for 10 years. The agreement had meant the government would be committed not to change taxes, export quotas or other regulation.
On Wednesday Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced a new deal that gives the state more leeway while offering enough stability for the Leviathan partners, Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Group, to resume investments.
The deal was approved on Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting. Steinitz hopes the new phrasing, which allows future governments to decide if policies need to be changed, will stave off other court objections.
Leviathan, one of the largest offshore discoveries of the past decade, was found in the eastern Mediterranean in 2010 and has been mostly earmarked for exports.
The court's objection also rattled the broader exploration sector where companies have been waiting to see how the saga plays out before investing in new offshore drilling.
"After a delay of six years, the revised stability clause will allow not only the advancement of Leviathan's development, but also open the sea to exploration for new gas fields, and ensure Israeli gas exports to neighboring countries and Europe," Steinitz said.
Yossi Abu, chief executive of Delek subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil, said the government approval gives "tremendous tailwind to our continued activity to promote the development of Leviathan, in order for Israeli gas to flow from the reservoir by the end of 2019".
Officals at Noble were not available for immediate comment.
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GAZPROM - The parties discussed relevant issues related to bilateral cooperation, including the Baltic LNG project. Emphasis was placed on the priority measures aimed at developing a joint design concept (pre-FEED).
BHGE - U.S. Rig Count is up 11 rigs from last week to 1,063, with oil rigs up 8 to 869, gas rigs up 4 to 193, and miscellaneous rigs down 1 to 1. Canada Rig Count is up 13 rigs from last week to 195, with oil rigs up 8 to 127 and gas rigs up 5 to 68.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures had risen $1.02 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $81.28 a barrel by 0637 GMT. The contract dropped 3.4 percent on Thursday following sharp falls in equity markets and indications that supply concerns have been overblown. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 80 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $71.77 a barrel, after a 3 percent fall in the previous session. WTI is on track for a 3.5 percent drop this week.
EIA - Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $79 per barrel (b) in September, up $6/b from August. EIA expects Brent spot prices will average $74/b in 2018 and $75/b in 2019. EIA expects West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will average about $6/b lower than Brent prices in 2018 and in 2019.