Woodside Petroleum Ltd is not responding to comments from a senior Israeli government official who said a 2016 target for the Leviathan gas project is “rather optimistic”, according to The Australian.
Woodside's 30% stake in Leviathan, first announced as a conditional deal in December, is seen as a key part of the company's portfolio given its limited gas growth prospects in Australia.
The comments, from Michael Gardosh, director of Israel's Ministry of Energy and Water, add to uncertainty about what Woodside can expect to get out of the project, and when.
Woodside also reportedly declined to respond to reports that Israel had approved a provision allowing 40% of gas from the Leviathan field to be exported, when Woodside had flagged 50% of the gas for export in December.
The Australian added that speculation has grown that a $US696 million ($A757 million) payment by Woodside to the owners of Leviathan could be triggered this weekend.
Woodside's Leviathan deal could be completed as early as Sunday or early next week if the Israeli government formally approves the gas field's export plans, according to a UBS analyst quoted by The Australian.