Israeli cabinet approves gas deal with US-Israel consortium

By a majority of 17:1, the Israeli cabinet Sunday approved a much debated deal with the US-Israeli consortium – Noble Energy and Delek Group – for developing the huge Leviathan natural gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast. It still requires Knesset endorsement. After weeks of talks – and strong criticism – the deal will allow the consortium to keep ownership of the largest offshore field, Leviathan, and sell off other assets, including stakes in another large deposit called Tamar. Netanyahu fought hard for the deal that would allow Leviathan – one of the world's largest offshore discoveries of the past decade – to be developed “for Israel’s industry and the Israeli economy – for the benefit of the citizens of Israel.” 

Leviathan, with estimated reserves of 22 trillion cubic feet (tcf) or 622 billion cubic metres, is slated to begin production in 2018 or 2019 and expected to supply billions of dollars of gas to Egypt and Jordan in addition to supplying Israel.

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