Noble CEO: We'll develop Leviathan without Woodside

Charles Davidson has been the main supporter of the sale of 25% of Leviathan to Woodside.

The partners in Leviathan are prepared to develop the gas field without Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (ASX: WPL), says Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) chairman and CEO Charles Davidson. This is an extraordinary statement by him, given that until now he has been the main supporter of the sale of 25% of Leviathan to Woodside for $2.71 billion.

"The Sydney Morning Herald" reports that Davidson told investors in the US, "We would like to have them as a partner as part of the project, but right now, with all of the other things that have been cleared out, we and our existing partners are moving forward, and we're starting to take steps to make sure that we can deliver this project."

Noble Energy, Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG), and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L) were due to sign the farm-out deal with Woodside on March 27, but the latter cancelled at the last minute because of disagreements with the Israel Tax Authority over accelerated amortization of the acquisition of the rights in Leviathan.

"Globes" reported that the parties reached a compromise on the accelerated amortization, but, in the past few days, Woodside representatives have raised new demands, mainly about compensation from future regulatory changes.

There is also considerable personal tension between Delek controlling shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva and Woodside CEO Peter Coleman. Tshuva was deeply insulted when Coleman did not turn up at the gala signing ceremony prepared in his honor in Jerusalem and parted from Coleman with harsh words.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on April 28, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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