Noble cites casing wear, moves rig off Leviathan

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Apr. 1
-- Noble Energy Inc. suspended drilling the deeper part of its Leviathan-1 giant Miocene gas discovery well in the deepwater Mediterranean off Israel and is moving the rig to drill a development well at its Tamar discovery.

Noble Energy’s announcement didn’t elaborate on the nature of mechanical issues that led it to suspend drilling at Leviathan. The company said it “identified wear on the wellbore casing, requiring additional material and equipment necessary to complete the drilling” that are not available in Israel.

The company said it is working to secure the needed items.

Leviathan-1 is in 1,645 m of water in the Levant basin 130 km off Haifa and 47 km southwest of the Tamar discovery well (see map, OGJ, Oct. 4, 2010, p. 54).

The Leviathan well had reached 5,170 m at the end of December 2010, and drilling was to continue to 7,200 m to evaluate two more intervals.

The company is preparing to move the Sedco Express semisubmersible to Tamar field to spud a development well in about a week. Tamar development remains on schedule for commissioning in late 2012, Noble Energy said.

Noble Energy operates Leviathan in the Rachel license with a 39.66% working interest. Other interest owners are Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration with 22.67% each and Ratio Oil Exploration with 15%.

Noble Energy also operates Tamar in the Matan license with 36% interest. Its partners there are Isramco Negev 2 with 28.75%, Delek and Avner, 15.625% each, and Dor Gas Exploration 4%.

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