Leviathan platform operator Noble Energy would be in favor of selling natural gas to the Gaza Strip in the future, according to Binyamin (Bini) Zomer, Noble Energy’s vice president for regional affairs."There is an effort of the [Middle East] Quartet and individuals in Israel to sell gas to Gaza, and we are in favor," Zomer told the Maariv Business Conference in Herzliya.
Located 10 kilometers off Israel’s shore, the Leviathan platform commenced full operations on January 6, supplying natural gas to the Israeli domestic market and to neighbors Jordan and Egypt. The Leviathan reservoir, one of the largest natural gas fields discovered worldwide in the last decade, is thought to contain up to 605 billion cubic meters (cu.m.) of natural gas, equivalent to 65 years of domestic gas consumption.The Palestine Power Generation Company canceled a $1.2 billion deal in March 2015 to purchase gas from Leviathan, citing regulatory delays to the project. Plans to construct a long-discussed, $300m. power plant in Jenin have stalled."We would be happy if [the Palestinians] establish a power plant. We signed a contract to supply gas and the Palestinians canceled," said Zomer.Fears surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus and reduced demand has led to a major decline in energy prices in recent weeks, impacting the value of shares in Houston-headquartered Noble Energy and the global energy industry.Zomer said it had been "fortunate, if one could call it that” that the outbreak occurred after finishing work on the Leviathan project, which could have otherwise led to supply chain delays. "If the outbreak had happened during the establishment of the Leviathan project, it could have impacted our ability to meet our deadlines, but it happened after the gas had started to flow," Zomer said. "Seventeen countries worked on the project, including in Asia, with factories designed for this industry. We had ships coming from all over the world." In February 2018, Noble Energy and Delek Drilling signed a $15 billion decade-long deal to supply 64 billion cu.m. of natural gas to Egypt's Dolphinus Holdings from the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields, with the latter already supplying natural gas to Israel since 2013.The deal with Egypt follows a September 2016 agreement worth $10b. between Jordan’s National Electric Power Company Ltd. and the Leviathan project partners to supply a gross quantity of 45 billion cu.m. of natural gas to Israel’s eastern neighbors over a 15-year period.Despite vocal opposition from some Jordanian lawmakers, Zomer described supply of natural gas to Israel's neighbors as a "win-win" situation. Gas supply has reduced energy prices for Jordanian citizens and enabled Egypt to become a regional energy hub, Zomer said, including potential exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to European countries."Leviathan has a lot of advantages for Israeli citizens," said Zomer, adding that operations since January proved the platform had no negative impact on air quality for nearby residents."Electricity prices have been reduced by four percent, there are additional revenues and energy security for the state. There are two platforms and two reservoirs – Tamar and Leviathan – with two entry points into the domestic system," Zomer said. "We are not only selling and looking for new customers, but we are working to expand the local market, reduce use of coal, connect with new factories and create infrastructure to convert transportation to natural gas as well. Further investments depend, as well, on a stable regulatory environment.”
Binny Zomer Interview