No­ble En­ergy sells in­ter­est in Is­raeli nat­u­ral gas project

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

No­ble En­ergy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) an­nounced Tues­day morn­ing that it has agreed to sell a 3% work­ing in­ter­est in the Ta­mar field off­shore of Is­rael to an Is­raeli partnership for a to­tal of $369 mil­lion. The buy­ers are Harel Group, an in­sur­ance provider and pen­sion man­ager, and the Is­rael In­fra­struc­ture Fund, an in­fra­struc­ture pri­vate eq­uity fund.

The sale val­ues the Ta­mar field at ap­prox­i­mately $12 bil­lion, and the buy­ers have an op­tion to pur­chase an ad­di­tional 1% be­fore the deal closes at the same val­u­a­tion. The trans­ac­tion is ex­pected to close in the third quar­ter of this year.

No­ble is sell­ing 11% of its in­ter­est in the Ta­mar field as part of an agree­ment with the Is­raeli govern­ment and its re­cently passed Nat­u­ral Gas Reg­u­la­tory Frame­work. The frame­work agree­ment was ap­proved in April af­ter the coun­try’s supreme court threw out an ear­lier deal promised pric­ing and reg­u­la­tory sta­bil­ity for 10 years.

The com­pany said it ex­pects to sell the re­main­ing 7% or 8% sales over the next three years. The Ta­mar field holds es­ti­mated nat­u­ral gas re­sources of 10 tril­lion cu­bic feet. No­ble will re­tain a 25% work­ing in­ter­est in the Ta­mar field and con­tinue as the field’s op­er­a­tor af­ter the sales are com­pleted.

The ap­proved law re­quires only that the de­vel­op­ers may be com­pen­sated for fu­ture changes in reg­u­la­tion. In April, No­ble said that the new lan­guage was “an im­por­tant mile­stone in cre­at­ing a sta­ble in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment.”

No­ble also op­er­ates the Le­viathan field off­shore of Is­rael. Le­viathan holds more than dou­ble the nat­u­ral gas re­source of Ta­mar. No­ble’s shares traded down more than 2% Tues­day morn­ing, at $35.29 in a 52-week range of $23.77 to $40.98.

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