Noble Energy Inc. has agreements in hand to supply to Egypt over a decade natural gas from the Leviathan and Tamar fields offshore Israel.
The two agreements announced this week with Dolphinus Holdings Ltd., one for Leviathan and one for Tamar, each provide for total contract quantities of 1.15 Tcf. The gas is expected to fuel Egyptian industrial and petrochemical customers, as well as future power generation.
"These agreements continue to demonstrate the strength of the regional market for our natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Noble Executive Vice President Gary W. Willingham, who oversees operations. “At Leviathan, we have executed agreements totaling nearly 900 MMcf/d and are closing in on our targeted sales volume amount of 1 Bcf/d. For Tamar, we now have a contract to sell any excess gas beyond current customer needs in Israel and Jordan to Egypt.”
Houston-based Noble one year ago sanctioned the initial Leviathan development, with first gas anticipated at the end of 2019. Overall, the 22 Tcf project is to include four subsea wells, each capable of flowing more than 300 MMcf/d. Proved reserves last year were estimated at 3.3 Tcf net (9.4 Tcf gross), or 550 million boe net.
The Tamar field has estimated recoverable gross mean natural gas resources of 10 Tcf. Gas sales have been underway for the past few years.
During a conference call on Tuesday to discuss Noble’s fourth quarter and full-year results, Willingham and CEO Dave Stover discussed the mammoth natural gas prize in Israel’s offshore.
Leviathan “is currently around 40% complete with essentially the same team that delivered the Tamar project,” Stover said. “Increased confidence in Leviathan volumes at start-up following our recent marketing progress has moved our base case up to 800 MMcf/d in Year One.”
The Eastern Mediterranean assets “truly differentiates Noble,” said Willingham. The updated base case assumptions for Leviathan volumes is “a conservative estimate, given the agreements we've already announced. Beyond what we have contracted there is substantial remaining opportunity in both the regional export market and within Israel…
“We expect there to be another 450 MMcf/d to 700 MMcf/d of demand in Israel alone from power transportation and industrial growth.”
Leviathan sales volumes under the Dolphinus agreement are set to begin at a firm rate of 350 MMcf/d when the project starts up as expected in late 2019.
For the Tamar agreement, sales volumes should begin at an interruptible rate of up to 350 MMcf/d, depending on gas availability beyond existing customer obligations in Israel and Jordan. Noble would have an option to convert the Tamar interruptible quantity to a firm basis with a take-or-pay commitment.
Both the Leviathan and Tamar contracts are for 10-year terms. Noble operates Leviathan with a 39.66% stake. It now holds a 32.5% interest in Tamar, with a planned divestment set to reduce the stake to 25%.
The gas price formula used for the two contracts is the same under both agreements and is linked to Brent oil prices, similar to Noble’s other regional agreements. The Leviathan contract represents expected total gross revenue approaching $7 billion at recent Brent prices, with Tamar’s potential revenues “up to a similar amount, dependent on actual volumes sold,” management noted.
Each agreement is subject to regulatory approvals and licenses, as well as finalizing gas transportation agreements.