Natural Gas of Israel's Largest Offshore Field to Start Flowing Within Two Weeks

Exports to Egypt and Jordan from the Leviathan reservoir will begin shortly thereafter

An aerial view shows the foundation platform of Leviathan natural gas field, in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Haifa, Israel January 31, 2019.
POOL New/ REUTERS

Natural gas will begin flowing from Leviathan, Israel’s largest offshore natural gas field, within two weeks, with exports to Egypt and Jordan following shortly thereafter, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday.

Binyamin Zomer, vice president for regional affairs at Texas-based Noble Energy, the lead partner in Leviathan, confirmed the news. “Before the end of the year we will start supplying the domestic market, and in the weeks right after that we will export to Egypt and Jordan,” he told the annual Israel Energy and Business Convention in Ramat Gan.

The Leviathan partners have signed multibillion-dollar export deals to Egypt and Jordan. Steinitz told the conference that despite opposition from environmentalists, there was no reason Israel shouldn’t also be exporting gas to Europe.

Zomer said that because of Leviathan’s lifespan, all export options were under consideration, including delivery by undersea pipeline to Europe. As to concerns about air pollution from Leviathan’s rig, he said that it met the strictest standards and that gas would mean a net gain for the environment.

“I’m sure the public understands that the biggest impact of the Leviathan rig will be when you can close the coal stations in Hadera,” he said, referring to generating plants of the Israel Electric Corporation.

Zomer said that with the development of the smaller Karish and Tanin gas fields by the Green energy company Energean, competition was ramping up in the industry. “No one knows at what range prices will settle,” he said. “It’s a function of supply and demand and we’re already seeing new prices.”

The IEC is buying gas from the Tamar field at $6.30 per million British thermal units, but it has signed an agreement to buy from Leviathan at $4.80. Karish and Tanin have been signing deals at between $3.50 and $4.00