Israel Attracts More Majors to Upstream

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In a sign of the winds of change blowing across the Middle East, Israel appears to be attracting more oil majors to explore for gas in its latest offshore bid licensing round. Israeli exploration was once considered taboo for international oil companies (IOCs) with prized assets in the Mideast Gulf, but the entry of Chevron to the East Mediterranean gas play in 2020, Mubadala Energy's purchase of a 22% stake in the 11 trillion cubic feet Tamar field in 2021 and now a joint effort by BP and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc) to acquire Israeli NewMed Energy this year have combined to convince IOCs to gain a regional foothold before competitors do. The Israeli energy ministry confirmed that the four consortia bidding are composed of nine different companies, including five competing in Israel for the first time. Industry sources confirm that TotalEnergies bought bid documents and visited the ministry, while Shell and Adnoc also expressed interest. Chevron declined to comment. BP, with Azeri state-owned Socar and NewMed, are competing for blocks close to the Leviathan field. Sources have also confirmed that Israeli Ratio Oil, a 15% shareholder in Leviathan, is bidding for blocks in Zone G in a similar area, while London-listed Israeli gas producer Energean is bidding for permits in Zone I. Awards are due by the fourth quarter.

Upstream Licensing, LNG Supply, Gas Supply, Exploration, Gas Pipelines
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