Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has requested the Supreme Court allow the country to proceed with development of the offshore Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.

Netanyahu defended a gas agreement himself in the apex court, following filing of petitions by opposition parties and non-government organisations to disrupt plans to develop the major field located off Israel.

Under the agreement, US-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group would retain control of the Leviathan discovered in 2010.

However, the companies are compelled to dispose other assets such as the Tamar field, which started producing in 2013.

"The field is estimated to contain reserves of 622 billion cubic metres."

Arguing in the court, Netanyahu said that any delay in the implementation of the deal may jeopardise the deal.

Reuters reported that the development costs of Leviathan field are expected to involve at least $6bn. The field is estimated to contain reserves of 622 billion cubic metres.

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Production from the field is set to commence by 2020 with gas to be supplied to Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan, and Turkey and Europe if possible.

With gas exports from the field, relations between Israel and its neighbours are also set to strengthen.

Netanyahu approved the delayed agreement in December 2015 allowing Noble Energy to proceed with the development of the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields.

The Leviathan natural gas field partners reportedly held discussions last month to supply gas to companies in the region.

The site development is being led by Noble Energy and Delek through its units Delek Drilling and Avner Oil and Gas.