JERUSALEM, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Bank Hapoalim wants to take a more active role in Israel’s growing natural gas sector and hopes to lead funding for two offshore gas fields being developed by a Greek energy firm, a bank official said on Wednesday.
Greece’s Energean has said it expects to spend up to $1.5 billion to tap the Karish and Tanin fields, which are situated off Israel’s coast and have combined gas reserves estimated at 2.4 trillion cubic feet.
“Until today, Bank Hapoalim, and the local financing market in general, have given funds as part of a consortium, but never leading it,” said Itamar Furman, who manages the energy sector at Hapoalim, Israel’s biggest bank.
“Looking ahead I think we will leap forward and I estimate that we will be the Israeli group that will accompany Karish and Tanin, together with foreign banks,” Furman said at the Israel Business Conference in Jerusalem.
Energean is aiming to bring the fields online in 2020. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen)