x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Noble discovers huge gasfield off Israeli coast

A consortium led by Noble Energy has found an estimated 16 trillion cubic feet of gas offshore Israel.

A group led by the US firm Noble Energy has discovered a huge gasfield off Israel's coast, raising the prospect of Israel joining the club of gas-exporting nations.

Results from its test well drilled into the Leviathan prospect confirmed a pre-drilling estimate that the structure contained about 16 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.

"The Leviathan field is estimated to cover approximately 325 square kilometres and, as a result of its size, will require two or more appraisal wells to further define total gas resources," the company said.

The exploration well was drilled in 1,645 metres of water in the Mediterranean Sea, about 130km west of the port of Haifa and 47km south-west of the Tamar gasfield, the group's previous large offshore discovery. But Leviathan may be almost three times bigger than Tamar, which with 6 tcf of gas is already a major source of energy for Israel.

"Leviathan is the latest major discovery for Noble Energy and is easily the largest exploration discovery in our history," said Charles Davidson, the company's chairman and chief executive.

"This discovery has the potential to position Israel as a natural-gas exporting nation," added David Stover, the president and chief operating officer of Noble.

"For a year now, we have had a team evaluating market possibilities, which include various pipelines and [liquefied natural gas] options. It's our belief that the natural gas resources at Leviathan are sufficient to support one or more of the options being studied."

The Leviathan consortium, which also includes the Israeli firms Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration, said in October it was hoping to find up to 4.2 billion barrels of oil beneath the gas reservoir.