Israel's Leviathan gas field begins production -companies

JERUSALEM, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Israel’s offshore Leviathan natural gas field has begun production, the companies running the project said on Tuesday, after numerous delays pushed off operations in the past weeks.

Leviathan, Israel’s largest gas field, is controlled by Noble Energy, Delek Drilling and Ratio Oil .

The delivery of gas from the project will effectively double the amount of Israeli-produced gas, the companies said in a statement.

The field’s discovery in 2010 helped turn Israel into a potential energy exporter. The project’s partners have already signed major, multi-billion dollar export deals to Egypt and Jordan.

Gas exports are expected to being in the coming weeks, they said.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Editing by Tova Cohen