Oil Refineries replaces British Gas in Shikma offshore exploration

D&B says Oil Refineries has passed the Electric Co. to become Israel's biggest industrial firm; Teva stayed in 4th place

Shlomy Golovinski
Shlomy Golovinski

Oil Refineries, controlled by the state and Israel Corporation (50-50), is replacing British Gas (LSE:BG) as a partner in an oil exploration off the Ashkelon shore.

Dun & Bradstreet today announced that Oil Refineries has passed the Israel Electric Corporation to become the biggest industrial concern in the country in the year 2000.

Oil Refineries today signed an agreement to acquire 40% of the participation rights in the Shikma offshore permit west of Ashkelon from Nordan Technologies. The license area spreads over 140 square kilometers.

Nordan had planned to deliver these rights to British Gas. But a month ago British Gas pulled out from the joint exploration with Nordan. Nordan did not have enough capital to carry out the exploration by itself. Given that permits are limited in time, without financing from a new partner, Nordan would have had to return the license to the Infrastructures Ministry.

Nordan and Oil Refineries have agreed to drill offshore at an investment of $7.5 million. Oil Refineries' share is $6 million. Nordan is putting up $1.5 million. Oil Refineries will also run the drill.

The exploration will be carried out this July, based on a three-dimensional survey from 2000 that confirmed the existence of several gas-bearing structures in the site. The existence of these structures was indicated in a bi-dimensional survey done by Nordan at the end of 1999.

One of these structures, 12 kilometers off the Ashkelon coast and running 60 meters deep, looks very promising, and is going to be further explored in the July drill.

There have been several discoveries of big quantities of gas west of Ashkelon by the Tethys Sea group, and by Isramco-British Gas.

Oil Refineries has the option to acquire 11% of the permit under conditions similar to the existing ones. The transfer of rights is subject to the approval by the oil explorations inspector of the Infrastructures Ministry. The deal also requires approval of the Antitrust Commissioner.

Nordan's revenues in 2000 came to NIS 55 million, and it posted net loss of NIS 1.7 million. The company had NIS 9 million cash as at the end of 2000.

Oil Refineries is owned by the state and Israel Corporation. Nordan Technologies is controlled by Managing Director Daniel Allergand.

D&B reports
Dun and Bradstreet today released its list of Israel's biggest corporations in the year 2000. The national phone company Bezeq is the biggest commerce company, and Oil Refineries has passed the Israel Electric Corporation as Israel's biggest industrial concern.

Oil Refineries was boosted by the price rises of all kinds of fuel. Its annual revenues came to $3.3 billion in 2000, of which 24% derived from exports. Its sales per employee were a high $2.3 million. The company is on the list of Israel's ten biggest employers.

Israel Electric Corp. dropped to second place with annual sales of $2.4 billion. No. 3 was the Israel Aircraft Industries, followed by Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA), which kept its position in fourth place.

The biggest leap in rating was posted by Intel Israel, which hopped from 12th place to 5th with 179% growth in revenues.

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