* Q3 net profit 93 mln shekels vs 140 mln in Q3 2011
* Gas production at Mari B well declined significantly
JERUSALEM Nov 29 Israeli conglomerate Delek
Group reported on Thursday a drop in quarterly
profit, hurt by a continued decline in natural gas production.
Delek's net profit fell to 93 million shekels ($24 million)
in the third quarter from 140 million a year earlier. Revenue in
the quarter rose 24 percent to 18.9 billion shekels.
"A significant decline in natural gas production due to the
depletion of the Mari B reservoir continued," Delek said.
Oil and gas production contributed a 31 million shekel loss
to Delek in the July-September period compared with a 68 million
shekel gain a year ago.
Egyptian state-owned companies earlier this year stopped gas
sales to Israel, part of a 20-year deal, following a year of
sabotage and pipeline attacks that had already disrupted
supplies. Egypt had supplied 40 percent of Israel's gas needs.
As a result Israel had to rely solely on Israeli gas from
the Mari B well. But that well is rapidly depleting so
production has been limited until the large Tamar prospect comes
online next year.
In late June, gas began flowing from two smaller wells, Noa
and Pinnacles, reducing the impact of the decline in gas supply
from Mari B.
Tamar, with an estimated 9.7 trillion cubic feet of
reserves, is owned mainly by U.S.-based Noble Energy and
Delek units Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration
. Delek said Tamar remains on track for production in
the first half of 2013.
Delek's bottom line was helped by higher profit from its
U.S. fuel operations. In September, Delek sold a 5.05 percent
stake in Delek US Holdings. Last week it sold another 3.7
percent for $57 million and still holds 53 percent.
Delek also posted a gain from its insurance and finance
operations versus a year-earlier loss.
Delek said it would pay a third-quarter dividend of 5.71
shekels a share, or a total of 65 million shekels, down from
7.03 shekels for the second quarter.