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Woodside agrees to $US696m Leviathan deal

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SYDNEY, Dec 3 AAP

December 03 2012, 11:01AM

Woodside Petroleum has struck a $US696 million ($A670.04 million) agreement confirming its role in a major gas prospect off the coast of Israel.

The energy giant has agreed to commercial terms for the acquisition of two exploration licences in the Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.

The deal with the US-based firm Noble Energy gives Woodside a 30 per cent interest in the Leviathan field, a major deepwater gas prospect discovered in 2010.

Woodside will be the operator of any liquefied natural gas (LNG) development of the Leviathan field, it said on Monday.

"Acquiring an interest in these permits is an exciting opportunity to grow our portfolio in the emerging Eastern Mediterranean basin and we look forward to finalising the agreement," Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said in a statement.

The company will pay a further $US200 million once laws permitting LNG exports from Israel are in place, and a further $US350 million once a final investment decision is made on an LNG development.

Woodside had been working on agreeing to terms on the licences for several months.

The company's shares were up 26 cents at $34.06 at 1041 AEDT.