8 Jul 2013

$US750m payment for Israel held back by Woodside

12:45 pm on 8 July 2013

Woodside Petroleum is holding back a $US750 million payment for a project in the Mediterranean Sea, after Israel decided to keep a larger than expected amount of gas for domestic consumption.

The Israeli cabinet on 23 June approved exporting 40% of its gas reserves, setting aside the remaining 60% to meet the country's gas needs for about 25 years.

Woodside would not comment on why it had not made an initial payment of $US696 million as part of its 30% involvement in the project off the coast of Israel.

AAP reports the Perth oil and gas company was understood to be expecting at least half of the gas to be available for the export market.

The Australian dollar has lost more than 12% against the US dollar since the $A1.4 billion Leviathan deal was announced seven months ago.

Analysts say Woodside may have to go back over the numbers to see if the joint venture project is still viable.