JERUSALEM Nov 26 The U.S.-Israeli consortium
developing the Tamar natural gas field off Israel's
Mediterranean coast said on Monday it had signed gas supply
deals worth about $4 billion with units of conglomerate Israel
In all, Tamar group will supply at least 16 billion cubic
meters (bcm) of natural gas in three, multi-year contracts.
Israel Corp previously had a deal to buy Egyptian gas, but Egypt
stopped supplying gas to Israel earlier this year.
The Tamar prospect, whose estimated reserves of 274 bcm made
it one of the largest discoveries of the past decades, is
expected to begin production around April 2013.
Texas-based Noble Energy leads the drilling group
with a 36 percent stake. Isramco Negev owns 28.75
percent, Avner Oil Exploration and Delek Drilling
hold 15.625 percent each and Dor Gas Exploration has
a 4 percent stake.
The largest of the three deals announced on Monday is with
private power producer OPC Rotem. Rotem will buy 10.6 bcm of gas
from Tamar for 16 years at a cost of about $2.5 billion.
Oil Refineries, Israel's biggest refiner, will pay
$1.3 billion for 5.8 bcm of natural gas for seven years, while
Israel Chemicals' Dead Sea Works will buy 0.26 bcm
between 2015 and 2017 for a power plant it is building.
The companies said the amounts of gas and prices are subject
Israel Corp becomes the second-largest customer for Tamar,
which in July signed a 15-year, $23 billion contract with
financially-strapped Israel Electric Corp (IEC), the
country's state-owned electric utility. IEC will buy a minimum
of 43 bcm.
Tamar has signed deals to provide natural gas to smaller
Companies are eagerly waiting for Tamar to come online next
year since Israel is facing a gas shortage following the halt to
Egyptian gas supplies. Egypt had supplied 40 percent of IEC's
gas needs and the company had to turn to more expensive sources
of fuel such as diesel and fuel oil.