After months of negotiations, Israel has reached a deal with the Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group that will finally allow the firms to move forward with development of the huge Leviathan natural gas field, Israel’s Finance Minister said, Reuters reported.
Yuval Steinitz added that the new agreement will be brought to the government for final approval in the coming days, and that it gives the state more leeway to change policies if needed. “The new version gives future government space to judge whether to change policies in the field of natural gas, should this be required,” he said in a statement.
The absence of a regulatory framework has held up the development of Leviathan, Israel’s largest gas reserve, discovered in 2010, and hindered production at the smaller Tamar field. It has also blocked export deals.
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. 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, Daily Mail wrote.