Leviathan gas find lives up to billing

Noble Energy has confirmed a significant natural gas discovery at the Leviathan prospect offshore Israel.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON -- Noble Energy has confirmed a significant natural gas discovery at the Leviathan prospect offshore Israel.

The well, drilled in the Rachel license, encountered a minimum of 220 ft (67 m) of net gas pay in numerous subsalt Miocene intervals. Noble says reservoir quality appears to be good, with the intervals discovered geologically similar to those encountered at the Tamar field 29 mi (47 km) to the northeast.

Leviathan-1 is being drilled in around 5,400 ft (1,645 m) water depth, 80 mi (130 km) offshore Haifa. Results to date are in line with the pre-drill estimated resource range, with a gross mean for Leviathan of 16 tcf (450 bcm).

Noble adds that the Leviathan field extends over an area of 125 sq mi (325 sq km), and will need two or more appraisal wells to define its total gas resources.

Chairman and CEO Charles D. Davidson said: "Leviathan is the latest major discovery for Noble Energy and is easily the largest exploration discovery in our history.

“In the past two years, we and our partners have made three significant natural gas discoveries in the Levantine basin. Total gross mean resources discovered are estimated to be approximately 25 tcf (700 bcm)…The Leviathan discovery has further confirmed our geologic models and interpretation of this basin and validates that it contains significant natural gas resources."

President and COO David L. Stover added: "This discovery has the potential to position Israel as a natural gas exporting nation. For nearly a year now, we have had a team evaluating market possibilities, which includes various pipeline and LNG options.

“It's our belief that the natural gas resources at Leviathan are sufficient to support one or more of the options being studied."

Drilling at Leviathan-1 will continue to a planned TD of 23,600 ft (7,200 m) to evaluate two further intervals. Currently the well is at a depth of 16,960 ft (5,170 m).

Noble expects to issue results from the deeper tests, thought to have a low chance of success, over the next couple of months. A second rig should arrive in the eastern Mediterranean in early 2011 to spud an appraisal well 8 m (13 km) northeast of Leviathan-1.

Noble operates Leviathan in partnership with Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration, and Ratio Oil Exploration. The company also operates Tamar in the Matan offshore license and Dalit in the Michal licenses.

12/29/2010

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