Woodside Awaits Israel Court Decision Before Completing Gas Deal
By James Paton
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-biggest oil producer, is waiting for an Israeli court decision later this year before completing a deal to invest in the Leviathan natural gas project.
Israeli’s high court is expected Sept. 17 to consider whether the cabinet’s gas export plan, which affects the Leviathan project, needs to be approved by the parliament, Woodside Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman told analysts today on a call. A court decision after the hearing is expected in the second half of 2013, he said.
“We are prepared to be patient and work through any outstanding issues with the Leviathan joint venture to finalize this deal,” Coleman said after the company posted an 8 percent gain in first-half profit. Woodside hopes the high court ruling will give the company “clarity” on gas exports, he said.
Woodside, operator of the Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Australia, agreed in December to pay as much as $2.3 billion for a stake in Israel’s largest natural gas field to tap both the domestic and export markets. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in June Israel will cap exports of its natural gas resources at 40 percent, less than the 50 percent recommended last year by a government committee.
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