Noble makes gas find with Leviathan off Israel

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 29 -- Noble Energy Inc. reported an apparently major natural gas discovery with its Leviathan exploration prospect it operates off Israel.

“This discovery has the potential to position Israel as a natural gas exporting nation,” said Nobel Pres. and Chief Operating Officer David L. Stover.

Noble and its partners made three natural gas discoveries in the Levantine basin amounting to 25 tcf, according to Charles D. Davidson, the firm’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Noble officials said the new well, drilled in the Rachel license, encountered a minimum 67 m of net gas pay in several subsalt Miocene intervals.

“Apparent reservoir quality is very good, and the intervals discovered are geologically similar to those intersected at Tamar,” they said.

Leviathan-1 in 1,645 m of water is 130 km off Haifa and 47 km southwest of the Tamar discovery.

Noble officials said results from the well confirm the predrill estimated resource range, with a gross mean for Leviathan of 16 tcf.

Leviathan field is estimated to cover 325 sq km and, as a result of its size, will require two or more appraisal wells to define total gas resources.

Noble said drilling at Leviathan-1 will continue to a planned total depth of 7,200 m to evaluate two additional intervals. Current well depth is 5,170 m.

“Results from the deeper tests, which have a low chance of success, are expected over the next couple of months,” said Noble.

The firm added that its second contracted rig will arrive in the eastern Mediterranean in early 2011 to spud a Leviathan appraisal well 13 km northeast of the discovery well.

The Noble consortium began drilling its Leviathan gas prospect in October (OGJ Online, Oct. 19, 2010).

Noble operates Leviathan with a 39.66% stake. Its partners are Delek Drilling LP and Avner Oil Exploration LP, each with 22.67%, and Ratio Oil Exploration Ltd. with 15%.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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