Palestinian firm is first to sign gas deal with Israel’s Leviathan

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian electric company was the first to sign an agreement to buy gas from Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field.

The Palestine Power Generation Company signed a 20-year deal to purchase $1.2 billion worth of gas, some 4.75 billion cubic meters, from the Leviathan group, according to reports.  The Leviathan partners informed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange of the agreement on Sunday, according to Haaretz.

Palestine Power is planning to build a $300 million power plant in Jenin and use the Leviathan gas to operate it, Reuters reported. The plant will be completed in about three years.

The Leviathan field, located about 80 miles west of Haifa in northern Israel, has not yet begun gas production; it is scheduled to start in 2017. The partners are Avner Oil Exploration, Delek Drilling and Ratio Oil Exploration.

In June, Israel’s Cabinet approved the export of about 40 percent of the country’s recently discovered reserves of natural gas while keeping a 25-year supply for national consumption. The decision was upheld in October by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Several large natural gas fields have been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel in recent years. There are projected to be approximately 950 billion cubic meters of gas in the fields.

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