From its beginning in 1951, Delek has been working towards the goal of making Israel an energy independent nation.
Delek is a company that has always reserved a place of honor for its Israeli roots and “sabra” spirit. Throughout its six-decade journey – from its founding as a small Israeli company that was established a short time after the founding of the country, through its development into an independent global operation – Delek has strived continuously to place Israel on the global energy map. Its efforts to achieve this challenging goal have required the investment of billions of shekels, the recruitment of the energy world’s foremost experts, the formation of partnerships with some of the world’s most respected oil and gas players, and – above all – the determined preservation of a steady vision in the face of numerous setbacks.
Delek’s recent discoveries of natural gas reserves in Israel’s coastal waters have created a new strategic reality in the Middle East: Israel is no longer dependent upon external parties for the supply of its energy needs. This im-pressive achievement owes its success to decades of steady effort, during which Delek built its technological knowledge, financial platform and execution capabilities. It is also testimony to Delek’s critical role in the develop-ment and advancement of Israel’s economy and its full support of Israel’s economy during periods of national emergency, all while evolving into a large, stable company.
Delek was established in 1951 by the Israeli government as an Israeli company to operate a chain of gas stations. In founding the chain, the government aimed to reduce Israel’s dependence on foreign energy companies, includ-ing the American and British oil companies that had already established operations in the Israel market. In the early years, Delek operated a relatively small number of outlets spread widely across Israel. In 1959, Delek registered its shares for trading for the first time on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, evolving into one of the largest and most im-portant firms to be traded on the exchange.
Over the next 20 years, Delek grew steadily to become Israel’s second largest fuel company, and expanded its management and operational capabilities significantly. During this period, Delek also began supplying an increas-ingly sophisticated range of petroleum-based products to the IDF and private industry. The company expanded its activities to other areas of the energy sector, including production of oils for industry and automobiles, maritime and overland transportation, fuel supply for aircraft and ships and fuel storage and transportation facilities, among others.
In 1982, the Company founded Delek Investments and Properties Ltd. as a vehicle for expanding the range of its business activities in Israel. Delek Investments expanded its operations to engage in the exploration of oil and gas in Israel’s coastal waters. Through its subsidiary, Delek Energy, and limited partnerships, Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, Delek obtained extensive drilling rights, raised significant financing and initiated onshore and off-shore drilling activities.
In 1991, Delek Motors, a subsidiary of Delek Investments, received a franchise to import and distribute Mazda vehicles in Israel, followed by a second franchise to import and distribute Ford vehicles. Delek Motors has been Israel’s leading seller of automobiles for the past 14 years. In 2000, Delek Investments acquired a 50% share of IDE Technologies, one of the world’s most advanced water desalination solution providers. IDE is one of the few companies in the world providing both thermal &membrane desalination solutions, and is renowned as a technolo-gy leader in these fields. The company has built numerous desalination plants throughout the world, including the largest sea water reverse osmosis plant in the world that supplies 127 million cubic meters of fresh water per year.
In 1998, Mr. Isaac Tshuva (Sharon) acquired control of Delek. The acquisition set in motion a clear expansion strategy in the energy sector, including increased exploration for natural gas and broadening Delek’s network of gas stations and adjacent convenience stores, as well as entering the insurance, finance, automotive and bio-chemicals sectors. Under Tshuva’s guidance, Delek has also ramped up its activities in international markets, and today, Delek is considered among the most prominent and stable holding companies in the sectors in which it operates.
In 1999, partners in the Yam Tethys joint venture, including Delek Drilling, Avner Oil & Gas Exploration, Delek In-vestments and U.S. based Noble Energy, discovered Noa and Mari B, two significant natural gas reservoirs lo-cated offshore Israel opposite Ashkelon.
These discoveries led to the beginning of Israel’s natural gas market. In 2004, following broad engineering efforts and the first of its kind in Israel, the Yam Tethys partners introduced natural gas to the Israeli market. Its first cus-tomer was Israel’s Electric Company which, for the first time, fueled the operation of one of its electric power sta-tions with Israeli (“blue and white”) natural gas.
In 2000, the Company undertook a broad reorganization of its legal and business structure resulting in the estab-lishment of Delek Group as a holding company whose shares were registered for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. In 2001, Delek Group established Delek US, and through it, acquired over 500 gas stations and con-venience stores throughout the Southeastern United States. Delek US also purchased the La Gloria oil refinery and marketing facilities located in Tyler, Texas.
In 2007, the Group acquired the marketing activities of Chevron in the Benelux region, an enterprise made up of 869 gas stations and convenience stores, mostly under the Texaco brand name. The acquisition signaled Delek’s entry into the European energy market. It has expended further when in 2010, the company purchased BP's retail fuel and convenience stores in France (including 416 gas stations, 300 convenience stores and holdings in 3 terminals).
In 2009, the discovery of the Tamar and Dalit fields 100 kilometers off of Israel’s northern coast by Delek and its partners marked a major turning point for the Company and for Israel’s energy sector as a whole. Tamar was the world’s largest natural gas discovery in 2009. Tamar’s and Dalit’s reserves are estimated today to contain over 9 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas, a quantity sufficient to meet Israel’s natural gas needs for over 20 years.
Also during this period, Delek became one of the first companies to establish and operate independent power producer (IPP) plants. Delek’s IPP in Ashkelon utilizes natural gas produced by the Yam Tethys joint venture. Dur-ing the 2000s, Delek also broadened its non-energy business activities. Delek acquired a controlling stake in Phoenix Holdings, Israel’s fourth largest insurance company, and purchased Republic Companies Group, a general insurer based in Dallas, Texas.
2010 and beyond
In late 2010, Delek struck the largest natural gas find in Israel’s history at the Leviathan well. Both Tamar and Levi-athan are the largest deepwater gas discoveries in the world in the past decade.
Together with its partners, Delek continues resolutely to search for oil and gas in the Mediterranean’s Eastern Ba-sin for the purpose of realizing its major, latent potential. In the future, Delek intends to continue strengthening its position as Israel's leading energy and infrastructure group. After 60 years, the Company remains dedicated to the spirited pursuit of two parallel paths: ongoing, steady expansion of the Group’s businesses, and continued pursuit of the promise of energy independence for Israel.
Delek continues to focus on the expansion and development of its energy-related businesses. While investigating options for production and potential export of Leviathan’s natural gas, Delek has so far made another three discoveries, including Aphrodite in Cyprus. In parallel, the Group continues to leverage its synergistic retail gas station and convenience store businesses to expand and improve its downstream operations.
Delek Group has multiplied its profitability over the last few years and continues to have deep and strong foundations in Israel’s vigorous economy. A number of its subsidiaries are publicly traded entities on three different global markets. Delek is the nation's largest and most successful oil and gas exploration and production company, the sole operator of independent power plants and the second largest operator of gas stations.
The Group’s market power enables it to seize opportunities, acting quickly and reaping the benefits of wise decisions. Its rich history in Israel has led to a vibrant present – and presence – internationally.