Business in Brief: May 27

Noble Energy raises its Israeli gas-reserves forecast; Source: Fischer refuses 70 percent pay hike; Greylock Israel raises $200 million.

Stanley Fischer 311 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
Stanley Fischer 311
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
Noble Energy raises its Israeli gas-reserves forecast
Noble Energy Inc. president and CEO David Stover delivered good news for Israel’s natural-gas and oil sector at a UBS conference in the US on Wednesday. “It’s possible that over the next few years, gas reserves in the Israel region will rise to 35- 45 trillion cubic feet, compared with the current level of 25 trillion cubic feet that we know about,” he said.
Forty-five trillion cubic feet would be nearly triple the size of the known 16 reserves in the Leviathan gas field, the largest gas discovery worldwide over the past decade, of which Noble holds 39.6 percent stake. Noble also holds a major stake in the Tamar gas field, which has 8.4, and smaller discoveries at Dalit, Mary B and Noa.
“The fact that we have found the two largest discoveries in the world over the past decade in the past few years has opened up for us a region of new and large activities,” Stover said. “In the coming few years, we will continue developing Tamar and Leviathan and at the same time continue our exploration activities in the region.”
“We plan completing development of the Tamar project by the end of 2012 and beginning to supply gas to consumers in 2013,” he said. “I expect that by the time we will begin providing gas from Tamar, we will already have started working on the next stage of developing this field to meet the growing domestic demand of recent years.”
Regarding Leviathan, Stover said, “Drilling the first Leviathan well has been completed, and we abandoned drilling of the second well due to difficulties. But we will very soon begin redrilling the structure.”
When work is finished on the second Leviathan well, the company would remain in the region and undertake additional exploration in 2012, he said.
Source: Fischer refuses 70 percent pay hike
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer has refused a 70 percent pay hike, a person familiar with the matter told Globes Thursday.
On Sunday, the cabinet is expected to raise the monthly salary of the central bank’s governor from NIS 38,000 to NIS 64,000. However, Fischer has asked not to receive the pay hike, the source said.
The salary of the Bank of Israel governor is not covered by the Bank of Israel Law. Sources in the Bank of Israel say Fischer supports the pay hike because he feels it will help the government find a topnotch successor to him when he eventually steps down.
“The governor wants the government to hire the highest quality person for the next term,” a source told Globes. “He wants the salary raised but thinks it won’t look good if he asks for it for himself.
The governor unequivocally stressed that the pay rise will not apply to him.”
Globes correspondent
Greylock Israel raises $200 million
Greylock Partners has raised $200 million for its second Israel fund, people familiar with the matter told Globes Thursday.
The firm closed the funding in full only a few months after launching the fundraising and without announcing an initial closing, the sources said.
Greylock was unavailable for comment.
Israeli venture-capital funds usually take 12 to 18 months to close funding for a new fund, while they make the rounds among potential investors around the world just to secure the first closing.
Greylock is one of the world’s oldest VC funds and has been operating in Israel since 2001.
Greylock partner Moshe Mor handles Israeli investments. In 2006, he teamed with former EMC executive Erez Ofer and former Cisco Systems executive Yoram Snir to raise a $150m. fund for investments in Israel. Greylock Israel raised a $50m. annex to the fund in 2008.
Greylock Israel has not yet had any large exits, and it suffered a massive write-off on modu. Greylock Israel has invested in 20 companies, including Aeroscout Ltd., Celeno Ltd., Payoneer Ltd. and Zend Technologies Ltd. – mature companies with tens of millions of dollars in annual turnover.