Big oil companies are pushing into Mediterranean waters off Israel, Lebanon and Egypt after years of U.S. diplomacy helped break open a political logjam around giant Middle Eastern natural-gas discoveries. Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM -1.22% , Royal Dutch Shell RDS.B -0.90% PLC, Total SA TOT 0.16% of France and others are planning to invest in exports and exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean. Their prospects were buoyed by a landmark contract last month between U.S., Israeli and Egyptian firms that breathed new life into the regional market. Shell is in talks with investors in natural-gas fields off Israel and Cyprus to supply its Egyptian liquefaction facility, according to people familiar with the matter. If the deal advances, it would allow Israel to quickly export some of the extensive reserves of natural gas found in the Mediterranean Sea west of Haifa. Italy’s Eni E 0.41% SpA and Total last month announced […]