HOUSTON, Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) today announced the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding regarding the sale of interest in the Leviathan licenses, offshore Israel to Woodside Petroleum. Each of the existing Leviathan partners, Noble Energy, Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration, are participating as sellers of a 25 percent interest in the licenses to Woodside. Noble Energy will convey a 9.66 percent working interest and will continue as upstream operator with a 30 percent working interest. Following completion of the transaction, Woodside will become the operator of any LNG development of the field.
Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman and CEO, commented, "Our partnership is excited to have executed this MoU with Woodside who brings extensive global expertise in LNG operations and marketing to the partnership. Their addition to the project will result in substantial added value while also bringing us much closer to when we will be able to sanction Leviathan for development."
Total compensation to Noble Energy is anticipated to include $525 million in cash payments plus $502 million in shared future revenues. The initial cash payment of $390 million is payable at closing of the transaction, which is expected in 2014. The remaining cash amount of $135 million is due when a final investment decision is made in relation to an LNG or FLNG development or as regional export contracts are executed in excess of a threshold volume amount, whichever occurs earlier. The shared future revenue represents 5.75 percent of export revenue attributable to Woodside's net export sales, commencing once the gross exported volume from the Leviathan field exceeds 2.0 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas.
An additional payment of $19 million, net to Noble Energy, will be made should ultimate recoverable Leviathan resources be determined to be in excess of 20 Tcf gross of natural gas. The determination and payment will occur no earlier than when cumulative field production reaches 4 Tcf. In addition, the sellers will receive a royalty of 2.5 percent of Woodside's future oil revenues associated with the deep Mesozoic should a commercial discovery and development result on the licenses. The royalty would go into effect following net payout of investment.The memorandum of understanding includes the agreed-upon commercial terms of the farm-out transaction and sets the timeframe for execution of definitive agreements. The transaction remains subject to the execution of definitive agreements between the parties, as well as necessary and customary regulatory approvals.