The annual revenue under this LOI is estimated to be between $400m and $750m and will ultimately depend on the actual quantity of natural gas purchased and the price received, which is affected by oil pricing at the time of sale. Total revenue for the 15-year period is estimated to be approximately $9.5 billion using expected sales volumes and prices calculated with current oil futures’ prices.

Charles Davidson, chairman and CEO of Noble Energy, said: “We are very excited about the execution of this letter of intent with the IEC, which is a very important step in the continuing development of the Tamar project. The progress on both the development and marketing of Tamar continues to move us along towards first production in 2012, consistent with our original projections.”

The company and its partners have signed LOIs for natural gas sales from Tamar with cumulative total revenues estimated at $10.5 billion. The LOIs will be followed by the negotiation and execution of definitive agreements by the parties.

As part of a separate LOI, IEC expects to purchase natural gas from Noble Energy and its partners to establish a strategic inventory reserve at Mari-B. The Mari-B partners would provide IEC with injection, storage and withdrawal capabilities for this inventory under a related service agreement.

Noble Energy operates Tamar, offshore Israel, in the Matan license, with a 36% working interest. Other interest owners are Isramco Negev 2 with 28.75%, Delek Drilling with 15.62%, Avner Oil Exploration with 15.62% and Dor Gas Exploration with the remaining 4%. The company is also the operator of Mari-B with a 47.05% working interest. Delek Drilling has a 25.5% interest, Avner Oil Exploration holds 23% and Delek Investment has 4.44%.