Israel's Leviathan Gas Field May Also Contain Oil

First Published Sunday, 29th August 2010 09:52 am - © 2010 Dow Jones


JERUSALEM -(Dow Jones)- Partners in Israel's offshore Leviathan natural gas field said Sunday that new tests reveal the possibility to find up to 4.2 billion barrels of oil below the underwater gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.

The partners, including Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) and subsidiaries of Delek Group Ltd. (DLEKG.TV), said there was a 17% probability of geological success to find three billion barrels of oil at a depth of 5,800 meters and a 8% probability of geological success in finding 1.2 billion more barrels of oil at a depth of 7,200 meters.

The partners said it is too early to tell whether they will drill wells to access the oil, as further testing is needed.

In June, the partners announced that the Leviathan field contains 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, with a 50% probability for geological success. The partners will begin drilling for the gas in October.

Noble holds 39.66% of the Leviathan field; Delek subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas Ltd. Partnership and Delek Drilling Ltd. Partnership each hold a 22.67% stake; and Ratio Oil Exploration Ltd. Partnership (RATI.L.TV) holds 15%.

When the Leviathan gas discovery was announced in June, Nabih Berri, the speaker of Lebanon's parliament and Hashem Safieddine, executive council chief of the Islamic movement Hezbollah, told international media that the area belongs to Lebanon and not Israel. But Israeli government authorities denied this claim, saying Israel has the right the maritime area where the field is located.

At 0905 GMT, shares of Delek Group were up 32 shekels ($8.42), or 3.55%, at ILS933.00; shares of Avner were up ILS0.02, or 5.83%, at ILS2.18; shares of Delek Drilling were up ILS0.65, or 5.58%, at ILS12.29; and shares of Ratio were up ILS0.03, or 8.5%, at ILS0.37, in a higher Tel Aviv market.

-By Sara Toth Stub, Contributing to Dow Jones Newswires, saratoth@gmail.com

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