Noble Energy reports 61% rise in Israeli gas sales

The rise was due to higher demand for natural gas, and the impact of lower competing imports from Egypt.

Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) today said that natural gas sales in Israel were up 61% to 140 million cubic feet per day. It attributes the increase to higher overall demand for natural gas for electricity generation, as well as the impact of lower competing imports.

The reference to "lower competing imports" is Egypt's East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), which halted deliveries to Israel for 38 days in February and March, after an attack on a gas pipeline in Sinai.

Noble Energy and Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) sell natural gas from the Yam Tethys reserve offshore from Ashkelon. They are also partners in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields. The Tamar field is under development and due to take over gas deliveries to the Israeli market when Yam Tethys runs out in 2013.

Noble Energy posted a net profit of $14 million ($0.08 per share) on $733 million revenue for the first quarter.

In the conference call after the release of the results, Noble Energy management said they expected gas sales in Israel in the second quarter to be similar to those in the first quarter, because of the problems in the supply of Egyptian gas, and that the growing demand for gas in Israel would lead to accelerated development of the Tamar and Leviathan fields. They also said that the taxation issue in Israel "is behind us." The company expects drilling in the deep strata at Leviathan to be renewed in the third quarter.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 28, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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