Delek Drilling Wins Back Israeli Licence
Israel's energy minister, Yuval Steinitz accepted an appeal by Delek Drilling and awarded a consortium led by the company with Noble Energy a licence for gas exploration in Alon D, an area offshore Israel bordering with Lebanon's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Last year the licence was revoked but Delek Drilling appealed the decision on the grounds that it was impossible to drill in the area because of the geopolitical circumstances and so it had not carried out its commitments.
Israel and Lebanon are at loggerheads over EEZ in the areas which have yet to be settled.
The licence's extension is for 32 months although "there are circumstances in which drilling is prevented." In the future, Delek Dilling said in a filing to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), that will not be a reason to resist revoking the licence.
The partners to the licence have committed to undertake an environmental survey within 18 months, in order to adjust the conditions to the accepted 2017 standards. The partners are also expected to reaffirm their commitment to drill, within a period of time from the moment a green light will be given for drilling.
It is assumed that the license was given to Delek and Noble Energy in order to strengthen Israel's claim to the disputed EEZ. Delek Drilling holds 52.9% of the project while Noble Energy holds 47.1%.