In early April, The Marker reported that the big challenge facing Israeli billionaire businessman Yitzhak Tshuva was how to return a billion shekels to his creditors by the end of 2021 (האתגר הגדול של תשובה: איך להחזיר מיליארד שקל לנושים עד סוף השנה). The Delek Group, which he controls, ended the fourth quarter of 2020 with a profit of NIS 1.1 billion but lost NIS 1.9 billion altogether in 2020 and a going concern note is still attached to its reports. In the end, Delek owes its bondholders NIS 5 billion ($1.54 billion).
As of 2014, Delek Group’s market value was about $4.5 billion.
Also, as part of the gas outline approved by the government, the Knesset, and the High Court of Justice, Delek Drilling is obligated to sell all its rights in the Tamar reservoir by the end of 2021. But the partnership’s attempts in recent years to sell its stake in a number of different ways have failed.
But on Monday, Delek Drilling, which is controlled by Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group and which holds about 22% of the rights in the Tamar natural gas reservoir, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the sale of its share in the reservoir to Mubadala Petroleum from Abu Dhabi for between $1 and $1.1 billion.
Mubadala Petroleum, established in 2012, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, is an Emirati state-owned holding company that may be best described as a sovereign wealth fund. On its website, MP states: “We are an investor in both natural gas and advantaged oil assets within our core regions, providing a well-diversified and resilient portfolio mix. Currently, 62% of our portfolio production is natural gas, which is aligned with our target of lowering carbon emissions footprint.”
Yossi Abu, a former adviser to Israeli Finance Minister Roni Bar-On and the current CEO of Delek Drilling, said in a statement on Monday: “The Memorandum of Understanding signed today is a major step on the way to the completion of the gas layout, in line with all of our commitments from the outset. For me, it is a great pride to lead this move, together with our friends at Mubadala Petroleum, which is another important step in realizing our vision to strengthen cooperation in the region.”
Israeli Energy Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz (Likud), stated that the “agreement to sell Delek’s share in the Tamar natural gas reservoir to a company from Abu Dhabi is further proof for the success of implementing the gas layout I initiated and fought to pass several years ago. The gas monopoly has collapsed, and large international companies are coming in and expressing confidence in our gas economy. Now, after signing the ‘Abraham Agreements,’ a company from an Arab country is also investing in Israel’s gas market. I believe this is the beginning of cooperation between the countries in the field of energy and other economic and political fields for the benefit of our citizens.”