Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz visit the Leviathan gas-processing rig near the Israeli city of Caesarea on Jan. 31, 2019. Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL.
(JNS) — Chevron Corp said on July 20 that it plans to buy Texas-based Noble Energy for $5 billion in stock, a deal that would make it the first major oil company to enter the Israel energy market.
Besides boosting its investment in U.S. shale, the purchase will net Chevron Noble’s Leviathan natural-gas field off Israel’s coast, according to Reuters.
Chevron CEO Mike Wirth told Reuters that the company was “mindful of the fact that there are political differences and tensions” between Israel and its neighbors, where Chevron also does business, thought emphasized that it is “apolitical” and “a commercial actor.”
“We engage with all of our different stakeholders as we go through something like this,” he said, according to the report.
Chevron is active in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Iraqi Kurdistan.
Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz welcomed the deal, calling it “a tremendous expression of confidence in the Israeli energy market and the continued development and export of natural gas from the State of Israel.”
U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette tweeted in response to the news that “the U.S.-Israeli energy relationship remains stronger than ever. This administration strongly supports the development of Eastern Mediterranean gas resources, and we look forward to what American ingenuity can do to boost energy development and security in the region.”
Separately, Israel approved a deal on July 19 with Cyprus, Greece and Italy for the EastMed pipeline to transport natural gas to Europe.