Israel Licensing Round Attracts Just Two Bids

A consortium of Indian companies and the Greek upstream firm Energean have submitted bids in a licensing round for 24 blocks offshore Israel, the energy ministry has said. One was from Greece’s Energean, which already has the rights to Israel’s Karish and Tanin fields. The other was from a consortium of four Indian firms.

After twice extending the deadline in the hopes of attracting top-line international companies, the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry said Wednesday that a call for bids for gas and oil drilling rights drew only two bidders.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     One was from Greece’s Energean, which already has the rights to Israel’s Karish and Tanin fields. The other was from a consortium of Indian firms including ONGC Videsh, Bharat PetroResources, Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A ministry official who asked not to be identified said the process shouldn’t be looked on as a failure.

The government had hoped it would draw at least two or three foreign companies to bid to drill in 24 new offshore blocks in Israel’s Mediterranean waters, each of about 400 square kilometers, in a bidding round that began a year ago. The licenses are for three years, with an option to extended them.

The original deadline for bid submissions was April. It was extended to July after only four companies purchased the data package needed to participate in the call for bids. The deadline was extended again, to November, after only one company, Energean, submitted a bid.       

Energean is interested in the tender because it wants to take control of licenses between its Karish and Tanin fields on the border to Lebanon. This week Reuters reported that the company was weighing an initial public offering in London in order to raise the $1.5 billion it needs to bring them into production