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    Noble in Tamar Stake Sale Talks



In order to comply with the framework and to raise funds for leviathan's development Noble to sell 11% shareholding in Tamar

by: Ya'acov Zalel

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Investments, Financials, East Med, Israel

Noble in Tamar Stake Sale Talks

Noble Energy, the biggest shareholder in Tamar gas field and its operator is in negotiations with several Israeli institutional investors to cut its shareholding from 36% to 25% according to Calcalist, a business daily, for an estimated price of $1-$1.1bn.

According to the natural gas framework Noble must cut its stake in Tamar within 6 years from the framework's approval last December, and 25% is the minimum share that a field's operator may have. Delek Group must sell its 31.5% stake completely by the same date, again in order to comply with the regulation to limit market power.

According to the report Noble is seeking to sell its stake early in order raise money for investment in Leviathan, the 620bn m3 gas field off shore Israel which is also a part of Noble's undertaking according to the framework. Noble holds a 39.7% stake in Leviathan and will have to contribute about $2bn towards its development costs. According to the report, Noble was not able to raise the money because of its tight financial situation. However selling 11% of Tamar, will make it easier to raise the rest of the money through debt issue or from bank loans.

Among the institutional investors involved in the negotiations are three insurance companies, one investment house and a foreign bank which was not identified in the report. Barclays Bank's Israeli branch is representing Noble in the negotiations.

In 2015 Noble posted a loss of $2.44 bn. Last year it sold half its holdings Aphrodite gas field off shore Cyprus for $165mn to BG (now owned by Anglo-Dutch major Shell) and its 47% holdings in Karish and Tanin gas fields off shore Israel for $70mn to Delek Group.


Ya'acov Zalel