Natural gas: buyout agreement by an Emirati company of shares in an Israeli field

The Emirati investment company Mubadala has reached an agreement in principle with the Israeli company Delek to buy back its 22% stake, for nearly one billion euros, in a huge Israeli natural gas field in the eastern Mediterranean, have announced Monday the project partners.

If it comes to fruition, the deal will be the “most important trade deal” between the United Arab Emirates and Israel since the normalization of their diplomatic relations in the summer of 2020, the companies said in a joint statement.

It relates to the Tamar field, located more than 80 km off Haifa. Operated since 2013, it still contains 300 billion m3 of natural gas, according to the Israeli-American consortium which owns it and which includes Delek.

Under the agreement in principle reached on Monday, Mubadala – based in Abu Dhabi – plans to shell out $ 1.1 billion (910 million euros) to buy all of Delek’s shares, according to details sent to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange confirmed to AFP by a spokesperson for Delek. According to this document, the transaction should be finalized by the end of May.

The Tamar field, operated by the American giant Chevron, is connected by a gas pipeline to the Israeli city of Ashdod in order to supply the Israeli market but also to supply Egypt and Jordan, two Arab countries that have signed a long date peace with the Hebrew state.

This transaction with the Emirates provides “significant support to the natural gas sector in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Yossi Abu, CEO of Delek, quoted in the statement.

Delek will nevertheless retain its 45% stake in the Leviathan field, whose resources, estimated at 605 billion m 3 of natural gas, make it the “largest energy project” in Israel’s history, according to the Israeli authorities. seek to establish themselves in the new gas geopolitics in the Mediterranean.

The discovery in recent years of immense gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has whetted the appetite of the riparian countries against the backdrop of geopolitical tensions between Turkey, which feels excluded, and its neighbors .

Israel is participating in this connection with Greece and Cyprus in the Eastmed gas pipeline project aimed at linking, among other things, the offshore gas fields of the Hebrew state to Europe. And Israel began in October talks, for the moment fruitless, with Lebanon on a disputed maritime zone on the edge of these two countries technically at war.


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