Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the long-delayed deal to allow Noble Energy to go ahead with the development of offshore Leviathan and the Tamar gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Noble Energy was notified that the government implemented the natural gas framework through execution of Section 52 of the restrictive trade practices act.

This execution will resolve and provide exemption from claims of the anti-trust authority regarding the acquisition of petroleum rights in the underlying permits by Leviathan joint venture partners.

The company noted that the framework provides transparency for future domestic pricing in Israel and also enables marketing of gas from Leviathan to Israeli customers for the first time.

"Following the approval, Noble Energy is advancing technical work and holding discussions on gas sales agreements."

Noble Energy Eastern Mediterranean senior vice-president Keith Elliott said: "This enables us to move forward with development planning.

"The high-quality of the Tamar and Leviathan reservoirs, combined with Noble Energy’s strong track record of major project execution, gives us confidence that these world-class assets are well-positioned to meet the growing and undersupplied natural gas demand of Israeli and regional customers."

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Following the approval, Noble Energy is advancing technical work and holding discussions on gas sales agreements.

The company is also updating and finalising capital investment requirements to conclude external financing agreements needed to reach final investment decisions (FIDs).

The FID for each project is targeted before the end of 2016.

Noble Energy operates Leviathan with 40% interest and other partners include Delek Drilling (22.67%), Avner (22.67%), and Ratio Oil Exploration (15%).

The company has 36% working interest in Tamar with others partners including Isramco Negev 2 (28.75%), Delek Drilling (15.625%), Avner (15.625%) and Dor Gas Exploration (4%).