JERUSALEM Nov 27 The main Israeli partners
developing the large Leviathan natural gas site said on Sunday
they signed commitment letters with HSBC and J.P. Morgan for up
to $1.75 billion of financing.
Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration
said the funds would go towards the A1 development
stage of the project.
Delek and Avner, units of conglomerate Delek Group
, hold a combined 45.3 percent of Leviathan.
Texas-based Noble Energy owns nearly 40 percent.
Leviathan, which is expected to start production in 2019 or
2020, was discovered in the eastern Mediterranean in 2010. Much
of its 622 cubic meters of natural gas is earmarked for exports.
The Leviathan partners have already signed a number of
supply deals within Israel as well as a $10 billion contract
with Jordan. Israel has also been searching for the best way to
export the gas, including possible pipelines to Turkey, Egypt
The $1.5-$1.75 billion loan will be provided against the
encumbrance of the partners' shares in Leviathan, with variable
interest due every three months. The principal will be repaid in
a single instalment after four years through a raising of
The A1 development stage for Leviathan includes the supply
of gas from Leviathan to the domestic market, Jordan, the
Palestinian Authority and other regional agreements, if signed.
"We ... are committed to act in order to pipe gas from
Leviathan to the Israeli market and for export already in late
2019. The Leviathan project is taking a significant step forward
today," Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu said in a statement.
(Reporting by Steven Scheer)