Leviathan partners hope to have gas start flowing by the end of 2019
The partners developing the Leviathan natural gas field submitted their detailed development plan to the government on Thursday.

Development of the Leviathan natural gas field is being led by Texas-based Noble Energy, Israel’s Delek Group (through its units Delek Drilling and Avner Oil and Gas) as well as Ratio Oil and Exploration.

According to the statement released by Delek, the plan calls for eight production wells to be built with two pipelines. Each pipeline has a 12 BCM capacity, with one leading to Israel for domestic and export use, while the second one will be solely for gas exportation.

The wells will be able to produce an estimated 21 billion cubic meters of gas annually, though sources close to the industry told The Jerusalem Post that number could go up to 31 BCM if Turkey were to agree to get supplies from Leviathan.

The source added that some of the biggest potential customers at the moment are in Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

The latter two would be connected to Israel’s NatGaz natural gas pipeline.

The domestic customers, the source said, would be individual private-sector factories that are liable to face interruptions in gas supply from Tamar when demand is high, since large customers like Israel Electric have a contract for uninterruptible supply. Leviathan would fill in for those smaller customers when the large companies need the supply from Tamar. The source said that, at most, Israel would receive between 3-4 BCM annually.

The details were released after Leviathan’s partners submitted the plan to the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water. The cost of developing the Leviathan field to be market ready is estimated to range from $5 billion to $6b. According to the statement, the field’s development could be carried out in two ways: Either by building all wells at once or by a two-phase plan in which four production wells would be built at a time.

According to Bini Zomer, Noble Energy’s Israel country manager, as well as a statement by Delek, if the plan is approved by the end of 2016, the partners hope to have gas start flowing by the end of 2019, which Zomer said is an “ambitious but realistic goal.”

This 2019 aim was announced in late January after Leviathan’s first contract was signed with private Israeli power giant Edeltech and its Turkish partner Zorlu Enerji to provide 6 billion cubic meters to two factories in Israel.

Yossi Dorfman, head of the Gas Campaign group at student movement Green Course, also speaking with the Post, said that the plan presented today was merely “the monopoly’s spin in an attempt to influence the Supreme Court.” He said that although the project is estimated to cost $5b.-$6b., only $100 million of that will be invested in the Israeli economy.