Noble Energy and partners are barreling toward first gas by year-end 2019 for the gigantic Leviathan development in the Eastern Mediterranean offshore Israel, having doled out more than 150 major contracts after the $3.75 billion project was sanctioned in 2017.

The Houston-based company is working to move from sanction to first gas within 34 months, which is challenging but manageable thanks to the company’s project execution experience, according to Brian Hogan, the Leviathan project manager for Noble Energy. Key enablers include having a development plan with a minimal onshore footprint, a proven execution model and highly reliable conventional technology—all contributing toward achieving first gas by the end of 2019.

There were vendor-related challenges, driven by the 2014 market downturn that led to high staff turnover and reduced staff levels for not only contractors but also subcontractors, Hogan said while speaking during a gathering of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Gulf Coast Section in Houston.

Everything appears to be coming together for Leviathan, which is operated by Noble Energy with partners Delek Drilling and Ratio Oil. Noble has overcome challenges by relying on proven technology and execution models, pulling plays from its nearby Tamar Field, where Hogan said uptime is nearly 100%, and Mari-B.

If Noble is going to move at a fast pace, the company wants to implement what it has a proven track record doing, according to Hogan, who added that led Noble to develop the field as a tieback to a fixed structure platform. “The reality is we’ve done it twice” before in Israel, he said.

Also key in meeting challenges was early engagement with stakeholders and jumping in to assist contractors and subcontractors in resolving issues, increasing execution efficiency, identifying opportunities and driving safety programs. “At the end of the day if we’re going to be successful, they have to be successful,” Hogan said.

Noble Energy is considered a mainstay for Israel, considering the company is known for firsts there and in other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. The company’s portfolio also includes assets in prolific U.S. shale basins, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and West Africa.

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