Ofers buy into Israeli energy exploration

Ofer Investments is buying 50% of IPC, which holds 13.6% of the Myra and Sarah licenses.

Brothers Sammy and Yuli Ofer are entering Israel's oil and gas exploration sector. Ofer Investments Ltd. today announced the acquisition of 50% of Israel Petroleum Company (IPC), which owns 13.6% of the Myra and Sarah offshore licenses. Ofer Investments will invest $30 million in developing the fields.

The Myra and Sarah licenses are located 50 kilometers west of Netanya, south of the Tamar discovery.

Yuli Ofer's share in the acquisition will be through an option given to Yuli Oil Explorations LP, which is owned by Premium (PIH) Holdings Ltd. (TASE: PIH), controlled by Yuli Ofer and Nimrod Rinot.

"The company decided to accept a 90-day option, which will enable it to exercise its share of the holdings, at no payment," said Yuli Oil Explorations. "This will make it possible to adjust its steps in accordance with the policy of the Petroleum Supervisor at the Ministry of National Infrastructures, which is due to be published soon."

Exercising the option will cost $400,000, and Ofer Investments estimates its investment in IPC at $3 million.

Yuli Ofer tried to enter the oil and gas exploration business via licenses owned by Pelagic Exploration Company by acquiring part of the rights of Globe Exploration, but the deal ran into trouble when the Ministry of National Infrastructures froze all sales of rights in exploration licenses.

The other partners in the Myra and Sarah licenses include Nochi Dankner's IDB-DT and Tzahi Sultan's Modiin Energy LP (TASE:MDIN.L), and Emanuelle Energy Ltd. (43.3%), owned by Ofer Nimrodi's Israel Land Energy Ltd.

In a separate development, Israel Land Development and Modiin announced that they were seizing the rights of Prentis Tomlinson in the Myra and Sarah licenses, and his rights in the six Pelagic licenses, because of non-payment of debts. He owns 8.8% of the Myra and Sarah licenses through BlueWater Capital Group LLC. Israel Land Development and Modiin also announced that they would prevent him from carrying out any transactions in the rights.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Tomlinson owes the two companies $90,000, which he cannot pay because the Ministry of National Infrastructures torpedoes his plans to sell the rights in the Pelagic licenses for several million dollars.

Tomlinson bought the Pelagic licenses two months ago, and immediately opened talks with most Israeli gas exploration companies to sell them. The licenses are considered attractive, due to their proximity to the Leviathan structure and Cyprus's Block 12. He has a deal to sell 10% of the Pelagic licenses to Israel Opportunity Energy Sources LP (TASE: ISOP.L), and is in talks to sell 25% to Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L), and to sell another block to Modiin. Israel Opportunity has since suspended the deal.

The Petroleum Supervision Department said that it would not approve the deals and that Tomlinson must honor the Pelagic licenses' work plans or return them immediately. The Ministry of National Infrastructures said in response, "We have not received requests to transfer the licenses."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 14, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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