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Noble halts Leviathan deepening in gas formation

The Leviathan-1 well has become the Levant basin’s deepest known penetration at a total depth of 21,400 ft, where Noble Energy Inc. halted drilling due to high pressure and mechanical limits of the wellbore design.

The eastern Mediterranean well offshore Israel did not reach its primary objective, but it encountered a gas-bearing zone at 21,000 ft and returned valuable geologic and engineering data about the basin, Noble Energy said. The gas composition was heavier than the gas discovered in the well’s shallower intervals and suggests a thermogenic source, the company added.

At 21,400 ft, still higher pressure was encountered, indicating the possibility of an overlying seal. The rig will remain to flow-test the previously discovered gas sands. The company did not provide pressure data.

Susan M. Cunningham, Noble Energy’s senior vice-president of exploration and business innovation, said, “Although the well did not reach the planned objective, we are encouraged by the possibility of an active thermogenic petroleum system at greater depths within this basin. We will integrate the data from the Leviathan deep well into our model to update our analysis and design a drilling plan specifically to test the deep oil concept.

“Part of the plan will be to secure a rig with the capabilities necessary to reach the target objective. Based on the information received to date, we continue to believe there is potential for significant oil resources in this prospect and the basin.”

Noble Energy operates Leviathan in the Rachel and Amit licenses off Israel with a 39.66% working interest. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration have 22.67% each, and Ratio Oil Exploration has 15%.


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