March 18, 2019 / 7:47 AM / 3 months ago

Israel's Delek Drilling considers London IPO for Leviathan gas stake

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the newly arrived foundation platform of Leviathan natural gas field, in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Haifa, Israel January 31, 2019. Marc Israel Sellem/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Delek Drilling said on Monday it was considering listing its holdings in the Leviathan natural gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast on the London Stock Exchange as part of a corporate restructuring.

Delek Drilling, a unit of conglomerate Israel’s Delek Group, said it would retain its holdings in the Tamar and Dalit gas sites, also off Israel’s coast, under the plan being considered.

But it said other assets, including its stakes in the Leviathan and Aphrodite reservoirs, would be transferred to a new corporation to be listed in London, it said.

“The move will realise our vision of becoming a significant global oil and gas company,” CEO Yossi Abu said.

He said the move would “unlock value for investors and increase the value of the assets, while providing optimal access to equity and debt and enabling development of additional commercial channels in the region.”

Leviathan, discovered in 2010 about 120 km (75 miles) off Israel’s coast, is one of the world’s largest gas discoveries of the past decade. Production is expected to start later this year as Israel seeks to become energy independent.

The nearby Tamar gas field began producing in 2013.

The Leviathan project operator, Texas-based Noble Energy, owns a 39.66 percent stake. Delek Drilling holds 45.34 percent.

Delek said in November it would seek to spin off its remaining 22 percent of Tamar in 2019 after it spun off 9.25 percent into a new company called Tamar Petroleum in 2017.

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen and Edmund Blair

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