HERZLIYA, Israel, March 2 (Reuters) - An underwater pipeline connecting Israel’s massive offshore gas field Leviathan to Turkey could be built within four years, one of the partners in the project said on Thursday.
Israel has been pursuing several regional export deals for its newfound gas reserves and the Leviathan group is moving ahead with development plans since making its final $3.75 billion investment decision last week.
Yossi Abu, chief executive of Delek Drilling and Avner Oil, said a new 500 km (300 mile) pipeline could have gas flowing to Turkey by the end of 2020, about a year after it comes online for the Israeli market.
“This is the target,” he told reporters at a news briefing.
Leviathan, one of the largest offshore discoveries of the past decade, was found off Israel’s Mediterranean coast in 2010. It has an estimated 622 billion cubic metres (BCM) of gas reserves and is expected to become operational in 2019.
Delek Drilling and Avner, subsidiaries of Israeli conglomerate Delek Group, each have a 22.67 percent stake in Leviathan. Texas-based Noble Energy has 39.66 percent and Ratio Oil has the remaining 15 percent.
Additional export destinations being discussed are Egypt, Europe and the Palestinian territories, including power plants in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, Abu said.
Delek and Noble are also partners in the nearby Tamar field, which began production in 2013. That group signed a deal in 2014 to sell $500 million of gas over 15 years to two Jordanian companies, Arab Potash Co and the Jordan Bromine Co.
There has been some opposition in Jordan to buying gas from Israel but Abu said supplies from Tamar are now flowing.
“Since early this year we started to export, it’s not huge quantities, but it’s still an export to Jordan,” he said. (Reporting by Yuval Ben-David; editing by David Clarke)
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