Israel: Noble Energy keeping Stake in Alon D block on the border to Lebanon

U.S. oil and gas company Noble Energy will not be relinquishing its stake in the Alon D license offshore Israel, near the disputed maritime border with Lebanon.

Noble Energy had in March informed Delek Drilling, its partner in the license, that it wanted “to retire from the exploration activity” in the 367/Alon D license and to waive its rights there.

At the time of the announcement in March, Noble held a 47.059% stake in the block and was the operator, with Delek holding a 52.941% of the rights.

It was at the time agreed that Delek’s subsidiary Ithaca Energy would join the Alon License as a 25 percent partner and be appointed as the operator in the Alon License, with Delek ending up with the remaining 75 percent in the license.

However, Delek has recently informed that this arrangement will not materialize and Noble Energy has reconsidered and decided to keep the Alon D stake.

Delek Drilling has said that Noble has decided to keep the block after all. The Israeli firm has said that Noble Energy said it wanted “to continue holding its rights in the Alon License and to serve as operator thereof.”

Accordingly, the transaction of the transfer of rights to Delek Drilling and Ithaca Energy has been terminated. The share split will remain unchanged – with Noble holding a 47.059% stake, and Delek Drilling owning a 52.941% percent stake.

The 400 square-kilometer offshore license sits a few kilometers east of the Energean-operated Karish gas field, near the Lebanese exclusive economic zone.

According to information on Delek’s website, the offshore block could hold significant potential for hydrocarbon discovery. However, due to the proximity of the Lebanese Exclusive Economic Zone, no extensive activities have been conducted over the Alon D license.

The license was about to expire in March 2016 as the country’s Commissioner at the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water wouldn’t extend it.

However, the partners then appealed to the energy minister Yuval Steinitz, who, on August 21, 2017, extended the license and gave the partners 32 months to drill an exploration well.

Worth noting, while Delek has said that the block is near the Lebanese EEZ, reports are claiming the block actually stretches into an 860 square-kilometer disputed maritime zone between Lebanon and Israel.

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Noble Energy via email, seeking comment on the rationale behind the decision to keep the block. We’ve also asked what Noble Energy’s stance is on the claims that the block stretches into a disputed maritime zone claimed both by Israel and Lebanon. Noble Energy did not respond.

Source: Offshore Energy Today