Tamar partners in talks to export gas to South Korea

The partners are close to a multibillion dollar deal with Daewoo Shipbuilding to build and operate a floating liquefied natural gas terminal.

The partners in the Tamar natural gas license, led by Yitzhak Tshuva's Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) and Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) are close to signing a multibillion dollar 15-year contract with South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (KSX: 42660) to build and operate a floating liquefied natural gas terminal (FLNG), which will enable natural gas exports from the reservoir. The gas produced from the well will be cooled to minus 160 degrees Celsius for transport in liquefied gas tankers to South Korea. The price of natural gas in Korean is 2-3 times higher than in Israel.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that the Tamar partners presented the innovative FLNG project to the Ministry of National Infrastructures and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week. The companies said that the project could liquefy 2-3 million tons (3-4.5 billion cubic meters) of gas a year.

Noble Energy owns 36% of Tamar, Delek Group subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L) and Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L) each own 15.625%, Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L) owns 28.7%, and Dor Alon Energy in Israel (1988) Ltd. (TASE:DRAL) unit Alon Natural Gas Exploration Ltd. (TASE: ALGS) owns 4%.

Construction of a FLNG terminal will enable the Tamar partners to greatly shorten the start of delivery of gas from the field. Construction of an onshore gas liquefaction facility involves a prolonged approval process, and would face strong resistance from local residents. A FLNG terminal would provide anchorage for liquefied gas tankers outside Israel's territorial waters, but within its exclusive economic zone. The FLNG terminal is unrelated to plans by the Leviathan partners - Noble Energy, Delek, and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L) - to send gas from that field to an onshore gas liquefaction facility in Cyprus.

FLNG terminals are the last word in the global natural gas industry. Royal Dutch Shell plc (LSE: RDSA, RDSB) is currently building a FLNG terminal in Australia. The terminal off the Western Australia coast, will cost $6 billion to build and will produce 3.5 billion tons of liquefied gas a year, beginning in 2017. Using this terminal as a baseline, the Tamar FLNG terminal will cost about $5 billion.

Delek Group's share price rose 5.8% by mid-afternoon today to NIS 794.80, Avner's share price rose 4.8% to NIS 2.31, Delek Drilling's share price rose 4.3% to NIS 13.30, and Isramco's share price rose 3.4% to NIS 0.45.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 13, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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