Israeli energy minister: Leviathan plan ‘ambitious’, Egypt’s Zohr not a problem

Noble Energy has submitted a “very ambitious” development plan for the Leviathan, a giant gas field offshore Israel, Yuval Steinitz the Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, said on Wednesday at an industry conference.

Speaking at a press briefing during the IHS CERAweek energy conference in Houston, Steinitz said that Noble had submitted the plan „just few weeks ago.“ Steinitz said the plan was very serious and ambitious, saying that Noble is now aiming to develop the field even faster that previously reported – in three years.

Asked by an Offshore Energy Today reporter on the concept selection and whether we’ll be seeing an FLNG unit, or some other type of offshore platform being used for the Leviathan, Steinitz said: “I don’t want to be too specific about the plans that were submitted to my office, about which kind of platform and so on, but it will be a good platform. It sounds very serious and ambitious.“


Zohr is not a negative thing


Offshore Energy Today also asked the minister about the potential effect the recently discovered giant Zohr field, by the Italian company Eni, might have on the development of the Leviathan.

“This is a very positive discovery for Egypt, but it’s not enough for even Egyptian domestic needs… The prospect of exporting Israeli gas to Egypt, or through Egyptian LNG plants to Europe or elsewhere is still very very relevant,” Steinitz said.

As previously reported, the Zohr discovery, which could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas in place discovered in August 2015, is expected to produce first gas, Eni says, as early as the late 2017.

Steinitz said that it was irrelevant if the Zohr is developed next year or a year later, as it would not impact Leviathan.

According to the Israeli Energy Minister, the eastern Mediterranean region has yet to give its final word when it comes to natural gas discoveries.

More Zohrs and Leviathans are out there

He said that according to information available to him, there may be more „Zohrs“ and „Leviathans“ in the region, or in Cyprus’ case, more „Aphrodites“.

In that case „we would have to consider exporting gas together“ in the best, cheapest way to Europe.

Israel plans to export the Leviathan gas to Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Greece, the nearby markets, but he said if there were more supergiant discoveries in the region, “which is a very realistic prospect,“ this would become a very significant source of supply for Western Europe.

He said that the giant discoveries in the region should not be looked upon as a negative thing, competition-wise, and should there be more gas finds, that would justify building a pipeline or several ones to carry gas from the three eastern Mediterranean countries to Europe.

By Bartolomej Tomić, Senior Editor, Offshore Energy Today

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