Noble Energy and its partners are set to undertake the first phase development of the Leviathan natural gas project off the coast of Israel.

Noble Energy owns 39.66% working interest in the Leviathan project along with operatorship.

The remaining owners are Delek Drilling with a 22.67% stake, Avner Oil Exploration with 22.67%, and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) Limited Partnership having 15%.

The project is expected to deliver first gas by the end of 2019.

Leviathan Field hosts 22 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gross recoverable natural gas resources.

Noble Energy chairman, president and CEO David L Stover said: “Leviathan marks our third major natural gas development offshore Israel. Bringing Leviathan online will expand Israel's supply of natural gas, further support the state's commitment to convert coal-fired power generation facilities to cleaner burning gas, and provide affordable energy resources to Israeli citizens and neighboring countries in the undersupplied region.

"Leviathan will provide a second source of natural gas for Israel through a separate tie-in location in northern Israel. 

"Noble Energy's financial strength and capability, proven technical expertise, and phased Leviathan project development approach position us to commence first gas on schedule and within budget."

In the initial development phase, four subsea wells with capacity to flow more than 300 million cubic feet per day (Mcf/d) of natural gas will be developed.

"This will provide affordable energy resources to Israeli citizens and neighboring countries in the undersupplied region."

Stover further added: “Sanction and development of Leviathan build on recent portfolio milestones and reinforce our focus on high-margin growth. Leviathan will generate robust project economics, have strong investment efficiency, and provide long-term cash flows.

“With 40Tcf gross recoverable resources discovered by Noble Energy in the region, we can continue to grow our Eastern Mediterranean business for decades. This includes material additional development beyond phase one at Leviathan.”

Accumulated production will be delivered through two 73-mile flowlines to a fixed platform, with full processing capabilities situated six miles offshore.

With an initial deck weight of 22,000t, the Leviathan platform will transport gas to the Israel Natural Gas Lines onshore transportation grid in the northern part of Israel and to the regional markets through onshore export pipelines.

It is estimated that phase one of Leviathan development will require a gross capital of $3.75bn. This figure includes nearly $100m spent last year and approximately $200m pre-investment for future platform expansion.

Noble Energy will fund this development by utilising Tamar operating cash-flows and Eastern Mediterranean portfolio proceeds.

The front-end engineering and design of the project is now completed and the firm is negotiating major project contracts.

With its partners, Noble Energy intends to drill one or two Leviathan development wells this year.