Update: Noble Energy allowed to resume Leviathan works after brief ban

  • Update: Adds a statement by Delek Group, on behalf of the Leviathan partners

A court in Jerusalem has reportedly ruled that Noble Energy can resume test works on the Leviathan gas platform following a temporary injunction ordered earlier this week.

Leviathan Platform / Noble Energy
Leviathan Platform / Noble Energy

The temporary ban came after activists and coastal communities filed petitions against the air emission permit granted for the Leviathan citing potential hazards to the local population.

The Mediterranean Sea gas development, on which ~$3.7 billion will have been spent by the time it starts producing gas, is scheduled to start production by the end of 2019.

The Jerusalem court had on Tuesday granted a temporary injunction according to which, pending another decision, Noble Energy was barred from carrying out on the Leviathan rig any activity that entails the emission of gases.
A preliminary hearing on the motion for an interim injunction was scheduled for Wednesday.

According to reports by the Israeli media on Thursday morning, the Jerusalem District Court has decided to cancel the temporary ban, allowing the Leviathan works to continue.

The Times of Israel has cited the judge who ruled that “the petitioners had failed to provide professional testimonies to refute the opinions of state professionals who deemed the test safe.”

As reported on Tuesday, Delek, Noble’s partner in the Leviathan project, said that if the injunction was to be removed – which eventually did happen – the project works would be resumed shortly and there would be no delays with first gas production.

In a statement issued around 2 p.m. CET, Delek confirmed that the court’s decision was received regarding cancelation of the injunction and dismissal of the motion for an interim injunction, “since the petitioners failed to meet the required tests for the granting of the order sought, namely the court was not satisfied that the chances of the petition being accepted are high and the balance of hardships tips in their favor.”

According to Delek, the court further ruled that the parties must notify the court as to whether the conduct of the hearing on the petition on the merits, scheduled for December 22, 2019, is required.

Delek said that the court’s judgment dismissed the said petition “with prejudice due to the absence of the required factual foundation, and which charges the Petitioner with the Respondents’
costs in the sum total of ILS 60 thousand.”

Delek also said that the start of the commercial piping of natural gas from the Leviathan reservoir is expected at the beginning of next week.

The Leviathan project is the largest energy project in Israel’s history. The project development is in the final stages and is slated to start delivering gas to the Israeli domestic market and regional markets in December 2019.

The project is being developed via an offshore platform from which treated gas and stabilized condensate will flow through a northern entry pipeline connected to the INGL (Israel Natural Gas Lines) national gas transmission system.

According to Noble Energy, the Leviathan gas will make it possible for the Israeli energy sector to be based almost exclusively on electricity generated by natural gas. Also, it will make Israel an energy exporter.

The Leviathan field is estimated to hold 33 Tcf of natural gas resources in place (22 Tcf recoverable). It was discovered in December 2010, 125 kilometers west of Haifa. It will have a total production capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (Bcf/d).

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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