Tamar wildcat finds subsalt gas off Israel

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 19 -- The Tamar rank wildcat well in the eastern Mediterranean off northern Israel has discovered a resource at least equal to the predrill estimate of more than 3 tcf of gas, said operator Noble Energy Inc., Houston.

Logs at Tamar-1 indicate more than 460 ft of net gas pay in three high-quality reservoirs whose thickness and quality are greater than anticipated, the company said. The well went to 16,076 ft to test a subsalt, Lower Miocene structure in 5,500 ft of water on the Matan license in the Levantine basin.

The Noble-led group plans production tests and may keep the rig to drill as many as two more wells in the basin, one of which could appraise the discovery. The companies also are considering drilling a second Lower Miocene subsalt prospect.

Tamar, a 250 sq km structure, is 60 miles from the nearest well. James Peck described the area's geology and petroleum systems of the distal portion of the Eastern Mediterranean basin in an article in OGJ (see map, OGJ, Oct. 6, 2008, p. 41).

Tamar lies about 80 miles north-northwest of the 1999-2000 Mari-B, Noa, and Nir gas discoveries 15-23 miles off Ashkelon. It is also about 40 miles southeast of Israel's maritime border with Cyprus.

Tamar is Noble's first exploration well off Israel in more than 5 years and appears to be the largest discovery in the company's history. It took a farmout on the Matan license 60 miles off Haifa and the Michal license containing the Dalit prospect in 4,000 ft of water 30 miles offshore in 2006.

Noble is operator with 36% working interest. Other participants are Isramco Negev 2 with 28.75%, Delek Drilling 15.625%, Avner Oil Exploration 15.625%, and Dor Gas Exploration 4%.

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