Woodside makes offer for stake in Israel's Leviathan gas field
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Australia's Woodside Petroleum (WPL.AX) has submitted a bid to buy a share of Leviathan, a huge natural gas find off Israel's Mediterranean shores.
The partners in Leviathan said in a statement on Monday the bid from Woodside was part of a strategic process announced last month to find an international partner for up to 30 percent of the rights to Leviathan.
They did not provide further details.
According to the Globes financial newspaper, Woodside's bid for 30 percent of the rights to Leviathan's licences reflects a $7.5 billion value for Leviathan, making it one of the finalists in the licensees' hunt for a strategic partner.
The Leviathan field has an estimated 17 trillion cubic feet of gas, making it the largest deepwater natural gas find of the past decade.
Texas-based Noble Energy (NBL.N) has a 39.66 percent share in the field. Israel's Delek Group (DLEKG.TA), through subsidiaries Delek Drilling (DEDRp.TA) and Avner Oil Exploration (AVNRp.TA), has a 45.34 percent stake. Ratio Oil Exploration (RATIp.TA) holds the remaining 15 percent.
The group has said it is looking to bring in other stakeholders and raise cash to help develop the project, which is expected to begin production in 2017.
Globes said the process for finding a partner for Leviathan is due to end within three weeks. The newspaper had reported last week that Russia's Gazprom (GAZP.MM) was a leading contender in the process.
(Reporting by Tova Cohen; editing by Jason Neely)
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