Israeli PM meets with Woodside CEO Peter Coleman

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Monday, November 5th, 2012

As reported in Woodside CEO Peter Coleman told Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon that Asia is the best market for LNG exports.

“Natural gas is a strategic asset for the future of the Israeli economy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. CEO Peter Coleman at a meeting today. Minister of Energy and Water Uzi Landau was also present at the meeting.

Earlier today, Coleman, two Woodside executives and Australia’s Ambassador to Israel met Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, a day after “Globes” reported that the company was bidding to become a partner in the Leviathan natural gas field. The executives said that best liquefied natural gas (LNG) export market is Asia, not Europe, where there is strong competition.

A political source said that Woodside gave a very professional impression. The parties discussed in general about oil, which may be found in Leviathan’s deeper strata below the gas-bearing strata. The Leviathan partners – Noble Energy Inc. , Delek Group Ltd. , and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP – are due to drill an exploratory well to the oil-bearing strata in the first quarter of 2013.

Woodside is apparently trying to raise its chances of becoming a partner in Leviathan, the largest deepwater natural gas discovery of the past ten years. For the Israeli government, the meeting’s purpose is to improve Israeli-Australian relations.

Woodside’s bid for a 30% stake in rights to the Leviathan licenses reflects a value of $7.5 billion, compared with analysts’ estimates of $4.7-5.5 billion for the gas field. Sources told “Globes” that the year-long process for finding a partner for Leviathan is due to end within two or three weeks.

In a notice to the TASE today, Leviathan’s Israeli partners confirmed yesterday’s report, saying “Woodside has submitted a bid in the strategic process, which the Leviathan partners were reviewing.”