JERUSALEM May 11 Israel's Delek Drilling
and Avner Oil have raised $2 billion in an
international bond offering to help fund the development of the
huge Leviathan natural gas field off the coast of Israel.
An announcement by the firms said demand of $13.5 billion
was the largest ever for an Israeli enterprise and it was
over-subscribed by 650 percent.
"This shows unprecedented confidence by European, U.S. and
Israeli financial markets in the vision of Delek Drilling, Avner
and Delek Group," Avner Chairman Gideon Tadmor said.
"The development of the Leviathan reserve will allow the
continuation of the Israeli natural gas revolution and regional
and international export that will significantly strengthen
Israel's geo-political standing," he added.
Avner and Delek Drilling are major shareholders in the group
developing Leviathan, which holds an estimated 19 trillion cubic
feet of gas and is expected to go online around 2017. Much of
the reserves are earmarked for export.
Company executives held a road show to attract investors in
the United States, Europe and Israel. Five series of bonds were
issued, each with its own fixed interest rate, and with the
longest maturing in 2025, the companies' statement said.
Texas-based Noble Energy is the field's operator
with a 39.66 percent stake. Avner and Delek Drilling,
subsidiaries of Delek Group, hold a combined 45.34 percent, and
Ratio Oil has the remaining 15 percent.
The partners are due to receive another large sum from the
sale of a 30 percent stake in the field to Australia's Woodside
Petroleum. However the deal, worth up to $2.7 billion
deal, has been held up over a tax disagreement between Woodside
and Israel. [IDn:nL4N0MO52B]
The partners have signed a 20-year deal with a Palestinian
power company to sell $1.2 billion worth of gas, and earlier
this month put in a bid to sell gas through a pipeline to
(Writing by Ori Lewis and Ari Rabinovitch)