BY SARA TOTH STUB
JERUSALEM -- Israeli energy companies said that they have signed a preliminary agreement with the Cypriot government to build a plant in Cyprus to liquefy and export natural gas.
The plant and export facilities would be for gas from a partially Israeli owned Cypriot field, but could also be expanded for processing other gas, including Israel's large offshore Leviathan reserve, according to a statement from Delek Group Ltd., which owns stakes through its subsidiaries in the Cypriot field and Israeli fields.
Last week Israel's government approved the export of 40% of the country's deep sea natural gas reserves, which it said could bring in $60 billion in government revenue over the next 20 years.
Israel has yet to secure a market for the large Leviathan reserve, which was discovered deep under the Mediterranean in 2010 and contains about 19 Tcf of gas. Ideally, Israel energy companies have said they would like to export some of that gas to European and Asian markets, as well as sell to neighboring countries. \
Israel's Tamar reserve began production of gas in March, and will mainly serve the domestic market, although some of that gas has also been earmarked for possible export to Jordan.
Noble Energy owns 70% of the Cypriot Aphrodite field, and the Delek subsidiaries own 30%. The field contains up to 9 Tcf of gas, according to estimates.
Noble also owns large shares in the Leviathan and Tamar fields.
Dow Jones Newswires