Eni chief says its estimate of the size of the Egyptian offshore gas field is conservative
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The estimate for Italian energy company Eni’s giant find off the coast of Egypt of 850 billion cubic meters of natural gas is “conservative” and could be raised, the chief executive of the Italian oil and gas group said Wednesday.
The estimate “could be raised; below we have found another field,” Claudio Descalzi told an Italian Senate hearing in Rome. Eni expects to invest between $6 and $10 billion in developing the newly discovered offshore Zohr gas field in Egypt, the company’s CEO said.
On the Israeli energy front, on Tuesday the National Planning and Building Council approved the route of a pipeline to export natural gas to Jordan, the Finance Ministry said. The 15.5-kilometer stretch of pipe will be laid near the southern end of the Dead Sea. The plan still requires formal approval by the cabinet. In a deal that could be worth $15 billion but has not yet been signed, Jordan has agreed to take gas for 15 years from Israel’s Leviathan offshore natural gas field, which is not yet in production. (Reuters)
Yesodot Fund to compete with banks on loans for construction projects
The Yesodot Fund, fresh from a 75-million-shekel ($19.1 million) fundraising effort, says it’s ready to provide the first real competition to banks in financing construction projects.
The fund has 300 million shekels under management, raised from institutional investors, and plans to raise an additional 200 million shekels, said managing partner Yakov Sisom. He said it will provide loans for building, boosting developer’s capital base and other financial services, adding that Yesodot was aiming for a return of 15%, helped by the high fees that are typically charged for building loans. Since it was formed 10 months ago, the fund has carved out a niche in small- to medium-sized residential construction, lending 75 million shekels for 10 projects totaling 300 housing units.
“Banks have always preferred building projects of 300 to 400 units over smaller projects of 10 to 20 units,” said Esti Friedman, also a managing partner in the fund. (Sivan Aizescu and Nimrod Bousso)
TA-25 rose 10% since Rosh Hashanah 2014
As the Jewish calendar year 5775 draws to a close next week, investors at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange can look back on the whole on a year of handsome returns. As of Tuesday, the benchmark TA-25 index had risen about 10% since last Rosh Hashanah.
If nothing untoward occurs in the next few days, the exchange will have finished the fourth year in a row of substantial gains for most of its indexes. The TA-25 and TA-100 broke records several times in the Jewish year, but there were poor performers, too, including the Biomed index, which fell 21.5%, and the TA-75, which slumped 6%. The Oil and Gas index declined by 16%, wiping out last year’s 14% gains. Average trading volumes in shares (including exchange traded notes) were 1.4 billion shekels ($361 million) this year, up 16% over last year, but bond trading volume shrank by 27%. (Shelly Appelberg)
TASE slips, dragged down by energy shares
Despite strong gains on stock exchanges abroad, shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange largely slipped Wednesday, led by energy stocks. The leading indexes opened higher, but finished the day in the red. The TA-25 index declined by 0.61% to 1,598.16 points, while the broader TA-100 was off 0.36% for the day to 1,398.65.
The Banks-5 index was unchanged, but the Oil and Gas index shed 2.7% of its value, despite starting the day on the plus side after Italian energy firm Eni said reserves in the newly discovered Egyptian field could exceed initial estimates, placing more pressure on Israeli natural gas. Shares of Ratio Oil Exploration, which is a partner to Israel’s offshore gas production efforts, dropped 4.8%, while those of Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration declined by 3.8% and 3.9%, respectively. Trading volume yesterday was 1.36 billion shekels ($350 million). (Eran Azran)