Noble completes deal with BG for Aphrodite field and announces sale of interests in two licences offshore Israel to Delek

British oil and gas company BG Group has announced today it has taken a 35% holding in Block 12 offshore Cyprus from Noble. Noble Energy has sought approval from the Cypriot government to include Britain’s BG Group in a consortium holding rights over a natural gas field in the eastern Mediterranean the Aphrodite gas discovery, which is estimated to have gas reserves of four trillion cubic feet.

In June, operator of the Aphrodite gas field, Noble Energy, declared the commerciality of the field, an important step for the development of the field as it means supply agreements and transit options can now be considered and negotiated.

In a statement released on its website today, BG Group said gas from the field could prove beneficial to its other projects in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

It said, “This upstream position provides a potential source of gas to Egypt where BG Group holds equity in the two train LNG export facility at Idku as well as LNG offtake rights to lift 3.6 mtpa [million tonnes per annum].”

In a separate press release, Noble Energy said that the farm-out agreement was completed for a total cash consideration of $165 million. Noble Energy will retain its operatorship of the block with a 35% interest.

“Entering this upstream partnership with BG in our Cyprus discovery is an important step in moving the project forward for development,” Noble Energy’s Senior Vice President of Eastern Mediterranean, J. Keith Elliott said. “BG brings substantial technical, financial and marketing capacity to the partnership.”

He added that Noble were continuing to work with the Cypriot government of Cyprus to finalize the development plans for the Aphrodite field.

“In conjunction with that work,” he continued, “we have recently commenced gas marketing efforts, primarily targeting customers in Egypt, including both domestic purchasers and underutilized liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants.”

Completion of the farm-out agreement is subject to certain regulatory approvals as well as customary closing conditions. Noble Energy said that the transaction has an effective date of April 1, 2015, and is expected to close before the end of 2015.

In the same press release, Noble Energy also announced the sale of its 47% interest in two licences offshore Israel, the Alon A and Alon C licences. Those licences include the Tanin and Karish fields. Noble has sold the 47% stake to Delek Group for a total deal value of $73 million.

“The divestment of interest in these assets is an important step in fulfilling Noble Energy’s obligations under the recently-approved Regulatory Framework in Israel and will simplify the ultimate sale of Tanin and Karish to a third party,” Noble said.