The Israeli Government has signed an agreement with a consortium of US-based Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Group for the development of the Leviathan gas field and two additional offshore wells in the eastern Mediterranean Sea area.

Initially proposed in June, the controversial agreement will set a regulatory framework for the potential gas exploitation in the region and also allows the firms to retain their stakes in the offshore field, reported Agence France-Presse.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The outline will bring Israel hundreds of billions of shekels in the coming years.

"I shall bring this agreement to the cabinet on Sunday. I’m sure it will pass by a large majority of votes."

Noble Energy has 39.66% stake in the Leviathan gas field, while Delek Group subsidiaries, Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, each own 22.67% interests. Ratio Oil Exploration also own 15% stake in the field.

About $1.5bn is planned to be invested by the consortium for the Leviathan field development project over the next two years.

However, the government will have the right to change the gas industry’s fiscal and regulatory terms until 2025, if the companies fail to meet requirements.

Expected to hold 622 billion cubic meters of gas reserves, the field is scheduled to commence production in 2018 or 2019 to enable gas supplies to Israel and also to Egypt and Jordan.

At present, the country depends on gas sourced from Tamar field to generate power, reported Reuters.