Israel's Tamar gets $902 mln in natgas financing

JERUSALEM, April 22 Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:33am EDT

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JERUSALEM, April 22 (Reuters) - A group developing the Tamar field off Israel's Mediterranean coast said on Sunday they signed a $902 million financing deal for the natural gas site.

The Israeli partners in Tamar will receive the money from a consortium of 11 foreign and local banks led by Barclays and HSBC, they said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Texas-based Noble Energy is leading the group developing the Tamar prospect, which contains an estimated 9.1 trillion cubic feet of gas, or about 250 billion cubic metres. It is set to come online in mid-2013 and be the main source of natural gas for Israel until production of the Leviathan site, with an estimated 450 million bcm begins in 2017.

Noble holds 36 percent of Tamar. Isramco Negev owns 28.75 percent, Avner Oil Exploration and Delek Drilling hold 15.625 percent each and Dor Gas Exploration has a 4 percent stake.

Delek Drilling and Avner, both units of conglomerate Delek Group, will receive limited recourse loans of $400 million each while Dor will get $102 million. Some $190 million of the loans will go towards paying back a bridge loan the group received in June 2010.

The loans are for eight years but could be shortened, the companies said.

The group has already signed a number of deals, including one for $8 billion to supply Israel's state-run electricity utility with gas.

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