Gazprom bids highest for Leviathan partnership
Delek’s Yitzhak Tshuva prefers Gazprom because of its geopolitical power, but Nobel Energy wants a Western partner.
by Amiram Barkat
Russia’s national gas giant Gazprom JSC (RTS: GAZP; LSE: GAZD; DAX: GAZ) is a leading candidate to acquire a stake in the Leviathan gas field. Sources inform ”Globes” that Gazprom submitted the highest offer in the process for picking a partner. However, sources connected with the negotiations say that there are differences in attitude between Gazprom and Leviathan’s US and Israeli partners, Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL), Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG), and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L).
Although the Israelis, led by Delek Group’s Yitzhak Tshuva, are enthusiastic about Gazprom because of its geopolitical power, Nobel Energy prefers a Western partner, even at terms that are not as good as the terms offered by the Russian giant.
“Israelis emphasize the immediate capital gain that will be created by bringing in a partner,” a source involved in the talks told “Globes”. “The Americans are looking more at the dividends that the shareholders will receive, and prefer a partner which will generate greater value over time.”
The process of choosing a strategic partner for Leviathan is the most intriguing and critical business move in Israel’s oil and gas industry this year. The current value of the Leviathan reservoir, which is still considered the largest deepwater gas discovery in the world in the past decade, is estimated at $5 billion, but the value of the contingent gas reserves is estimated at tens of billions of dollars.
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