Drilling delays at Leviathan gas field risk billions in lost investments

|By:, SA News Editor

Israel's lack of preparations for exporting offshore natural gas have postponed drilling and threaten a $2.3B investment from Australia’s Woodside Petroleum (WOPEF, WOPEY), which is examining other options in case details of drilling at the Leviathan gas field aren’t settled in H1 2014, Bloomberg reports.

The 2010 discovery of Leviathan, then the biggest offshore find in a decade, looked like it would provide a bonanza for Israel, but after taking two years to decide how much gas to export, Israel hasn’t agreed on details such as where to build refineries, and partners are still discussing how to transport the fuel.

The delays have contributed to a big drop this month in shares of Delek Group (DGRLY, DLKGF), the project’s biggest Israeli partner, and smaller losses in Noble Energy (NBL) and Avner Oil (AVOGF).