Noble Energy starts up gas production from Mari-B field off Israel

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec. 26 -- Noble Energy Inc. has begun natural gas production from giant Mari-B field in the Mediterranean Sea 15 miles off Israel, that country's first offshore natural gas production facility. Noble Energy expects production to increase to 100 MMcfd by the end of March 2004, with ultimate gross production to reach 170 MMcfd.

Production facilities are sized to produce up to 600 MMcfd. Noble Energy estimates that total recoverable reserves in the Mari-B field exceed 1 tcf of natural gas.

Noble Energy is operator with a 47.06% working interest. Partners include Avner Oil Exploration Ltd. Partnership 23%, Delek Drilling Ltd. Partnership 25.5%, and Delek Investments & Properties Ltd. 4.44%.

The partners have an 11-year contract to supply 636 bcf to Israel Electric Corp. Ltd. (IEC) for use in IEC's electric power plants. Noble Energy anticipates it will market additional natural gas as Israel develops its infrastructure in the coming years.

Noble Energy's undeveloped Noa discovery, estimated to contain over 200 bcf of natural gas, also is scheduled for production later through a subsea tieback to the Mari-B platform.

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