HOUSTON, Dec. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) today announced that the partners in the Leviathan Project have agreed in principle on a proposal to sell 30 percent working interest in the offshore Leviathan licenses to Woodside Energy Ltd. (ASX:WPL). All of the Leviathan partners, Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration, are participating as sellers to Woodside. Noble Energy will convey a 9.66 percent working interest and will continue as upstream operator with a 30 percent working interest. The transaction is subject to the negotiations and execution of definitive agreements between the parties, as well as customary approvals, prior to closing.
Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman and CEO, commented, "Noble Energy is extremely pleased to welcome such a substantial and knowledgeable strategic partner as Woodside. We are confident that their extensive experience in LNG projects will further unlock value in the world-class Leviathan resource. The entry of Woodside will bring additional international diversity to the Eastern Mediterranean area, thus highlighting the global importance of the Levant Basin."
Under the proposal, Noble Energy would receive cash payments totaling $464 million, which would be comprised of an initial cash payment of $287 million payable at closing followed by two contingent payments totaling $177 million. The first for $64 million would be paid once laws permitting LNG export from Israel are in force and the second for $113 million when a final investment decision is made in relation to an LNG development. In addition, Noble Energy would receive a share of Woodside's annual LNG revenue above certain price parameters, subject to a $322 million cap over the life of the project. The company would also be carried for up to $16 million in the drilling of a Mesozoic oil exploration well on the Leviathan licenses. Including the potential revenue sharing amounts and drilling carry, the implied price for Noble Energy's interest being sold is $802 million.
In order to better ensure timely completion of the Leviathan Phase 1 project, Noble Energy has offered limited temporary financing consideration to the existing partners in special situations where they have either not timely secured adequate funding, are at risk of default due to inability to pay their share of costs, or total project costs exceed a specified level that is above the project's current projected costs. Should the partners have to access the special financing, Noble Energy would be compensated through either interest payments, transfer of the partner's interest or receipt of a share of their production. These financing considerations do not obligate the Company until the signing of binding agreements.
Citigroup Global Markets Ltd and HSBC advised Noble Energy on the transaction.
The Leviathan project is located on the Rachel and Amit licenses offshore Israel in 5,550 feet of water. It has an estimated 17 Tcf of discovered resources and is currently being appraised.
Noble Energy is a leading independent energy company engaged in worldwide oil and gas exploration and production. The Company has core operations onshore in the U.S., primarily in the DJ Basin and Marcellus Shale, in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, offshore Eastern Mediterranean, and offshore West Africa. Noble Energy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is traded under the ticker symbol NBL. Further information is available at www.nobleenergyinc.com.
This news release contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Words such as "anticipated," "intends," "indicates," "suggests," "possibility," "believes," "expects," "intends," "will," "should," "may," and similar expressions may be used to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical fact and reflect Noble Energy's current views about future events. They include planned development activities, business strategy and other plans and objectives for future operations. No assurances can be given that the forward-looking statements contained in this news release will occur as projected and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates and assumptions that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. These risks include, without limitation, difficulties or delays in finalizing definitive documents governing the transaction described in this news release, government approvals, regulations or other actions, the volatility in commodity prices for crude oil and natural gas, exploration and development risks, drilling and operating risks, the presence or recoverability of estimated reserves, environmental risks, competition, the ability of management to execute its plans to meet its goals and other risks inherent in Noble Energy's business that are discussed in its most recent annual report on Form 10-K and in other reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are also available from Noble Energy's offices or website http://www.nobleenergyinc.com. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management at the time the statements are made. Noble Energy does not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements should circumstances or management's estimates or opinions change.
SOURCE Noble Energy