Monday, 03 December 2012 14:41
Woodside Petroleum says security risks surrounding the company's decision to pursue onshore gas processing in Israel are manageable.
Woodside on Monday announced it had struck a $US696 million ($670.04 million) deal on a major gas prospect off the coast of Israel, just days after a ceasefire was agreed with Palestine.
The company has agreed to commercial terms for the acquisition of two exploration licences in the Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.
Chief executive Peter Coleman said a delegation of company executives had visited Israel twice in relation to the deal and spoken with Israeli security forces.
"We've viewed the potential sites for onshore facilities and made our own risk assessment around that," he told analysts on Monday.
"We feel that's manageable. We also feel that the investment market will see that the risk is quite manageable."
The company will be the operator of any liquefied natural gas (LNG) development of the Leviathan field, a major deepwater gas prospect discovered in 2010.
The deal with the US based firm Noble Energy gives Woodside a 30 per cent interest in Leviathan.
Woodside will pay a further $US200 million ($192.54 million) once laws permitting LNG exports from Israel are in place, and another $US350 million ($336.94 million) once a final investment decision is made on an LNG development.
Woodside had been working on agreeing to terms on the licences for several months.
Mr Coleman said acquiring an interest in the permits was an opportunity to grow the company's portfolio in the emerging Eastern Mediterranean basin.
"We look forward to finalising the agreement," he said.
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