Noble Energy and its partners in the ultra-deepwater Leviathan field offshore Israel are still waiting for an update on the situation which has seen the country’s Anti-Trust Authority essentially try to pull the rug from under their feet on one of the world’s biggest gas finds of recent times.

The companies were advised just before Christmas by the Israel Anti-trust Authority of the latter’s decision to not submit a Consent Decree to the Anti-trust Tribunal for final approval. Noble and its partners have requested a hearing on the topic with the authority, which Noble said was expected to occur within the next few weeks. 

In March last year the companies and the Anti-trust Authority reached agreement for the Consent Decree, which included the divestiture of the Tanin and Karish gas fields. This agreement is a key component for the final investment decision on the Leviathan development, says Noble. 

Charles D. Davidson, Noble’s chairman, said the actions of the Anti-trust Authority were “another disturbing example of the uncertain regulatory environment in Israel. Specifically, this is a matter that we believed was resolved some time ago and follows on recent assurances from the Anti-trust Authority that approval was forthcoming. We believe this is a harmful precedent for Israel to set and we will vigorously defend our rights relating to our assets.” 

Unsurprisingly, Noble says that a final resolution of this, as well as a number of other regulatory matters, is required before it will proceed with additional exploration or development investments in its Israeli business, which would involve multi-billion dollar spending.