Tamar group to get $500 funding deal from Deutsche Bank

JERUSALEM Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:53am EST

JERUSALEM Feb 20 (Reuters) - A group developing the Tamar field off Israel's Mediterranean coast said it was set to receive a loan for up to $500 million from Deutsche Bank to further develop the natural gas site.

The funds from the seven-year loan will also go towards paying back a $350 million bridge loan, one of the partners in the group, Isramco Negev, said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The loan is still subject to the signing of a detailed and binding agreement.

Texas-based Noble Energy is leading the group developing the Tamar prospect, which contains an estimated 9.7 trillion cubic feet of gas (274 billion cubic metres).

It is set to start production in April and be the main source of natural gas for Israel until the Leviathan site, with an estimated 450 million bcm, comes on line in 2017.

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

Last year, Tamar borrowed $902 million from a consortium of 11 banks led by Barclays and HSBC.

Tamar has already signed a number of large deals, including one to supply as much as $23 billion of natural gas to state-owned utility Israel Electric Corp and $4 billion worth to units of conglomerate Israel Corp.

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