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Woodside misses deadline on major Israeli gas deal

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest oil producer, missed its target for completing a deal to buy a stake in a natural gas project in Israel, 15 months after signing an initial deal.

Talks are continuing with partners in the gas venture, including Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) and the Israeli government “with a view to resolving the remaining issues,” Perth-based Woodside said today in a statement. The companies had planned to complete by Thursday the agreement to purchase the stake for as much as $2.6 billion.

The deal would give Woodside a slice of Israel’s largest gas field as the company’s proposed projects in Australia face delays. The partners, including Delek Drilling LP, Avner Oil Exploration LLP and Ratio Oil Exploration LP, intend to supply the domestic market in Israel as well as neighboring countries, while also exporting liquefied natural gas, Woodside said last month.

Woodside agreed in February to pay Noble and its partners an initial $850 million when the deal was completed. The 25 percent stake it is seeking is smaller than the 30 percent negotiated in the December deal worth up to $2.3 billion, though the estimated amount of gas rose to 18.9 trillion cubic feet of gas from 17 trillion cubic feet.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 29, 2014, on page 4.

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