Noble Energy has obtained a license from the Israeli Government to build an offshore pipeline from the company's Mari-B field directly to Ashdod. The direct route to Ashdod should allow Noble and its partners to supply gas to the Israel Electric Corporation ("IEC") Ashdod power station earlier than previously expected. This license should enable the company to begin initial production in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2003. The initial IEC supply contract is for 630 billion cubic feet of natural gas over an 11-year period.
Noble's Vice President and General Manager of the International Division, Alan Bullington commented, "This decision by the Israeli government will enable Noble and its partners to be the first gas supplier to IEC and gas deliveries should occur much sooner than previously anticipated. IEC's use of clean, efficient natural gas will benefit the people of Israel, IEC and Noble."
The field development is progressing on schedule. The decks and production facilities are 59% percent complete and the jacket is 39% percent complete. The jacket and production decks will be transported to Israel this winter with installation occurring early next year. Field development and the connecting pipeline are scheduled for completion by the third quarter of 2003 enabling Noble to begin gas deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2003. The facilities and pipeline have been designed to accommodate flow rates of 600 mmcfd in anticipation of supplying the expected rapid growth in demand for natural gas in Israel.
Noble through its wholly owned subsidiary is operator and holds a 47% interest in the project. Its partners in the venture are Delek Drilling Limited Partnership, Delek Investments and Properties Ltd. and Avner Oil Exploration Limited Partnership.
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