JERUSALEM Jan 1 The Israeli and U.S. companies
developing the massive Leviathan natural gas field off Israel's
coast may have to sell their stake in two smaller fields to
avoid being branded a cartel by the anti-trust authority.
Delek Drilling, one of the Leviathan partners,
said on Wednesday the group was in "advanced negotiations" with
Israel's anti-trust authority to receive the regulator's
approval for their operations in return for selling their stakes
in the Tanin and Karish fields.
Tanin and Karish, which are licensed to Delek Drilling,
Avner Oil Exploration and Texas-based Noble Energy
, have combined estimated reserves of 3 trillion cubic
That is far less than the deposits in the group's other
fields -- Leviathan has 19 tcf and Tamar has 10 tcf.
The negotiations with the anti-trust authority began over
two years ago, Delek Drilling said in a statement to the Tel
Aviv Stock Exchange, but gave no further details. Delek Drilling
and Avner are subsidiaries of Delek Group
Israel financial daily Calcalist reported that if an
agreement is reached, the companies will have 2.5-4 years to
sell their stakes in Tanin and Karish.
"At this stage it is only about negotiations and there is no
certainty that the negotiations will lead to a binding
agreement," Delek Drilling said.