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Energy Companies Seek to Lift Hold on Leviathan Field Natural Gas Production

Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Drilling went to court Wednesday seeking the cancellation of an injunction issued Tuesday by the Jerusalem District Court that threatens to delay production at Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field due to environmental concerns. On Tuesday, the Jerusalem District Court issued a temporary order that barred any gas emissions from Leviathan, which was to come on line this month. The companies have signed a multibillion-dollar deal to export gas to Egypt and Jordan. Delek estimated that it had a “greater than 50%” chance of getting the injunction canceled. Leviathan was discovered in 2010 about 80 miles (130 km) off Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Its production platform was built only 6 miles (10 km) from the shore. Environmental activists and municipalities near where the pipeline comes ashore had tried unsuccessfully to block the plan and force the production platform to be built further out at sea. The latest petition was brought by several municipalities and an environmental group against Noble Energy and Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry.