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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/world/middleeast/31leviathan.html

By ETHAN BRONNER
Published: December 30, 2010

JERUSALEM — Exploratory drilling off Israel’s northern coast this week has confirmed the existence of a major natural gas field — one of the world’s largest offshore gas finds of the past decade — leading the country’s infrastructure minister to call it “the most important energy news since the founding of the state.”

Houston-based Noble Energy, which is working with several Israeli partner companies, said that the field, named Leviathan, whose existence was suspected months ago, has at least 16 trillion cubic feet of gas at a likely market value of tens of billions of dollars and should turn Israel into an energy exporter. READ MORE

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How will the discoveries of natural gas in the Mediterranean and possibly oil in Israel affect the world? These are resources Israel desparately needs–after their need for water. This is indeed an area we should pray for God’s will and protection concerning Israel and her neighbors…     Ruth Mayfield

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/250887/israel-fossil-fuel-giant-how-many-ways-could-change-game-judith-levy

A preliminary geological survey has indicated that there might be about 26 million barrels of recoverable oil a mile under the sand near two kibbutzim in the northern Negev. That would amount to about $2 billion at current prices. There might be 12 million additional barrels further down.

This news comes a day after drilling began on the Leviathan, a record-setting exploratory well in a massive natural-gas field off the coast of Haifa. The area is thought to contain 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, and it might also contain oil.   Read more

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132849#replies

by Hana Levi Julian

Gas Field Near Haifa Exceeds Expectations — Again! by Hana Levi Julian Follow Israel news on and . (IsraelNN.com) The capacity of natural gas fields at the Tamar I drilling site off the coast of Haifa have exceeded the most optimistic expectations.- for a second time. The natural gas reserves found at the site are 16 percent more than estimated, according to an independent report released by Noble Energy, which owns 36% of the field under exploration. Noble Energy also operates the drill site on behalf of a conglomerate of partners, including Texas-based petroleum company Netherland, Sewell and Associates. The site is located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of Haifa. Israeli partners in the well include Isramco Negev 2, which owns 28.75%, Delek Drilling, which has 15.625%, Avner Oil Exploration with 15.625% and Dor Gas Exploration, which owns 4%. Shares rose in response to the announcement at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). Tests by an outside consultant have revealed 207 billion cubic meters of gas. The previous estimate of 178 billion, made a month ago, was already 30 percent higher than original estimates. “There is already enough Israeli made natural gas to provide for the county’s needs for years to come, said Avner CEO Gideon Tadmor and Delek CEO Tzvi Greenfield in a joint statement. They said that the group plans to “determinedly seek out additional reserves in our many licenses along the coast,” pointing out the discoveries free the Jewish State from dependence on foreign energy sources.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232265973374&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

A historic natural gas reservoir found offshore from Haifa is poised to meet Israel’s natural gas demand for about 15 years and reduce the country’s dependence on gas imports from Egypt and offshore from Gaza. The discovery of the natural gas field 90 km. offshore from Haifa, known as Tamar, was made by a US-Israel consortium including the Delek Group, through its subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, Isramco Negev 2, Dor Gas Exploration and US oil operator Noble Energy Inc.

Preliminary estimates indicate that the Tamar field might contain over 88 billion cubic meters of gas.

“If the Tamar site opposite the Haifa coast succeeds in producing the significant quantities of natural gas predicted, we are talking about a revolution which will have an impact on the Israeli economy for the coming generations,” said Dan Halman, CEO of Halman-Aldubi Group. “The vast reservoir is poised to bring down electricity prices, reduce the country’s dependence on gas from foreign countries, in particular from Egypt, and thereby turn Israel from a gas importer into a gas exporter.”

Yoav Burgan, analyst at Leader Capital Markets, believes in the possibility of long-term deals resulting from the Tamar well which could generate a potential value of $15.5 billion.

However Halman cautioned that despite the optimism it was too early to celebrate.

“Big celebrations are still premature,” said Halman. “It needs to be remembered that the drilling is complicated and production possibilities are not yet completely clear. In addition, gas transportation is a much more complex and expensive process compared with oil transportation.”

Similarly Yuval Zehira, head of the research department at IBI Investment House, raised doubts over the economic viability of the project.

“For the time being it remains very difficult to assess the profitability of the project given that we don’t have figures regarding the initial cost of drilling, production costs, the time it will take to sell the gas, and at what price, and the effect of competition with Egyptian gas,” said Zehira. “At this point it seems that the project is more of a strategic asset than an economic one.”

The Tamar prospect, located under 1,676 meters of water, was drilled to a total depth of about 4,900 meters. Production testing at Tamar will be performed after the well is completed.

Gal Reiter, analyst at Clal Finance Batucha estimated that the production tests would cost about $20 million and should be completed in about three weeks.

Noble Energy, which operates the well with a 36% working interest, and its Israeli partners said that they might keep the rig to drill two additional wells in the basin.

“This is one of the most significant prospects that we have ever tested and appears to be the largest discovery in the company’s history,” said Charles D. Davidson, CEO and chairman of Noble Energy Inc.

Following the announcement of the discovery, shares of Delek Drilling, which holds 15.6% of the Tamar prospect, jumped 41.7%, and shares of Avner Oil Exploration, which holds another 15.6%, surged 21.4%. Both companies are owned by billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva. Shares of fuel exploration company Isramco, which owns 28.7%, leaped 123.8%.

Additional reporting by John Benzaquen.

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