Russian news agency, Russia Today, reports on Israel’s recent oil and gas discoveries and international tensions with Lebanon over disputed territorial boundaries. Onshore, Russia Today, briefly reports on Givot Olam’s Rosh Ha’Ayin site but does not mention the Zion Oil & Gas exploration area or the Joseph Project.
Special Report: Zion – The Movie
I traveled to Israel last week to work with Charter Films Limited, a UK film company. We (they) were doing preliminary shooting for a film about Zion Oil’s search for oil in Israel. Tom Boulting, Charter’s CEO met Richard Rinberg, Zion’s CEO on a flight to London a few months back and Richard shared the Zion Oil story with Tom. Tom was fascinated. As a filmmaker, Tom saw great possibilities for a documentary on Zion Oil; but after spending a few days with Richard and Zion Founder John Brown at Zion’s drilling sites in Israel he realized that a sixty minute documentary could only tell half the story. Tom started thinking ‘movie’.
As the ‘oil in Israel’ story teller up to this point, I was invited to spend last week with Tom and his cameraman, Jim, ‘on site’ while they filmed preliminary footage for both the documentary and a possible feature length film. I was able to share the ‘back-story’ with Tom and Jim, both on and off camera. They even christened me into the ‘film crew’ on location by letting me hold the boom mike during interviews and taught me some movie making lingo. It was a great experience personally, but more exciting was the realization that the world will soon witness the Zion Oil story through documentary on the small screen (TV) and (one day) on the big screen as a feature length movie.
There’s a lot of work to be done now by Charter Films, editing footage and preparing a short ‘promo’ piece to share with potential film partners. Speaking of ‘promo’ pieces, Charter Films is planning to join us at the 2010 National Religious Broadcasters’ Convention next February in Nashville to debut a sneak peek of “Zion – The Movie”.
Next week we’ll have http://zionthemovie.com online. By the time you’re about done with that left-over turkey, you’ll be able to visit the new website for great pictures, meet the director and stay up to date on the making of “Zion – The Movie”. Of course we’ll always give you the latest news here at http://oilinisrael.net.
Zion Chairman John Brown, CEO Richard Rinberg and company President Glen Perry got the NASDAQ market going on Wednesday by ringing the opening bell. The ‘opening bell’ ceremony signified the first day of trading for Zion Oil & Gas on the NASDAQ market under the ticker symbol ‘ZN’.
Zion has demonstrated that they can compete in the global financial market by continuing to hold their stock value and raise significant capital in the midst of the worst financial melt down since the Great Depression. In short, people believe in Zion Oil and the financial world has taken notice.
About Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. (ZN):
Zion Oil & Gas, a Delaware corporation, explores for oil and gas in Israel in areas located on-shore between Haifa and Tel Aviv. It currently holds two petroleum exploration licenses, the Joseph and the Asher-Menashe Licenses, between Netanya, in the south, and Haifa, in the north, covering a total of approximately 162,000 acres and the Issachar-Zebulun Permit Area, adjacent to and to the east of Zion’s Asher-Menashe license area, covering approximately 165,000 acres.
Zion’s total petroleum exploration rights area is approximately 327,000 acres.
About NASDAQ OMX:
The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. is the world’s largest exchange company. It delivers trading, exchange technology and public company services across six continents, with over 3,900 listed companies. NASDAQ OMX Group offers multiple capital raising solutions to companies around the globe, including its U.S. listings market; NASDAQ OMX Nordic, NASDAQ OMX Baltic, including First North; and the U.S. 144A sector. The company offers trading across multiple asset classes including equities, derivatives, debt, commodities, structured products and ETFs.
NASDAQ OMX Group technology supports the operations of over 70 exchanges, clearing organizations and central securities depositories in more than 50 countries. NASDAQ OMX Nordic and NASDAQ OMX Baltic are not legal entities but describe the common offering from NASDAQ OMX Group exchanges in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Iceland, Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. For more information about NASDAQ OMX, visit http://www.nasdaqomx.com.
Market action for Zion Oil & Gas has apparently been hot enough to attract the New York Times Business Section. Click here to see Friday’s NY Times listing.
French news agency AFP recently filmed a short news piece on the biblical search for oil in Israel featuring John Brown of Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. and Ginko Oil Exploration in the Dead Sea region of Israel.
“They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.”
Noble Energy (see my earlier post: http://www.oilinisrael.net/oil-in-israel-articles/more-detail-about-the-haifa-offshore-gas-exploration) has discovered “three massive gas fields” just off the coast of Haifa. This field is much richer, the natural gas reservoirs much larger than Noble energy expected. This find alone could be enough natural gas to power Israel’s electrical plants and supply it’s commercial and domestic natrual gas needs for the foreseeable future – and still with enough for export to other countries. Yitzhak Tshuva, owner of the Delek Group Ltd, a partner in the Tamar #1 well, called the discovery “one of the biggest in the world,” promising that the find would present a historic land mark in the economic independence of Israel.
The Jerusalem Post and many other news organizations announced the discovery to the people of Israel and to the world this morning. Below are excerpts of the JP article you can read it in its entirety at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1232265973374.
Jerusalem Post Sunday January 18, 2009
Three massive gas reservoirs have been discovered 80 kilometers off the Haifa coast, at the Tamar prospect, Noble Energy Inc. announced on Sunday.
The Tamar -1 well, located in approximately 5,500 feet of water, was drilled to a total depth of 16,076 feet. The thickness and quality of the reservoirs found were greater than anticipated at the location.
Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy’s chairman, president and CEO, said in an announcement that his company was “extremely excited by the results. This is one of the most significant prospects that we have ever tested and appears to be the largest discovery in the company’s history.”
Speaking on Army Radio Sunday morning, an exhilarated Yitzhak Tshuva, owner of the Delek Group Ltd, one of the owners of the well, called the discovery “one of the biggest in the world,” promising that the find would present a historic land mark in the economic independence of Israel.
“I have no doubt that this is a holiday for the State of Israel. We will no longer be dependent [on foreign sources] for our gas, and will even export. We are dealing with inconceivably huge quantities; Israel now has a solution for the future generations,” Tshuva added.
An ecstatic Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said before the weekly cabinet meeting that the discovery was a “historic” one and could “change the face of Israeli industry.”
Production testing at Tamar will be performed after the well is completed. Noble Energy and its partners may keep the rig to drill up to two additional wells in the basin. Pending positive test results, one well could be an appraisal at Tamar.
Noble Energy operates the well with a 36 percent working interest. Other interest owners in the well are Israeli companies Isramco Negev 2, Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Dor Gas Exploration.
Following the announcement of the discover, shares of Delek Drilling jumped up 80%, while shares of Isramco Negev 2 skyrocketed by an unprecedented 120 percent.
December has been a busy month for Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. (Dallas, Texas and Caesarea, Israel) as they prepare for drilling activities scheduled for early 2009.
The company issued three press releases over the last thirty days that, if we look a little deeper, may give us a forecast on what to expect in 2009.
The first press release, issued on November 14, reported the company’s third quarter financial results. Quarterly reports from public companies are required by SEC regulations. Zion Oil reported a net loss of $865,000 for the quarter (that’s eight cents per share). A loss like that sounds pretty glum unless we remember that Zion, at this point, is an exploration company. They explore for oil. That means they don’t produce income until they find oil. Now about finding oil – here’s something interesting you may miss if you don’t read the press release closely:
“Zion is moving forward with its exploration and drilling plans. We anticipate that the refurbished 2,000 horsepower drilling rig, with which we plan to drill Zion’s planned Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 well ‘directionally’ to below 18,000 feet, will be shipped into Israel during January 2009. We have almost finished preparing the drill site and expect to commence drilling shortly after the rig arrives on location.”
Zion expects the delivery of a “2,000 horsepower drilling rig” in January. The new rig has a drilling depth capacity of 20,000 feet. Why is that important? In 2005 Zion Oil drilled the Ma’anit #1 well to a depth of 15,500 feet. The deeper they drilled the stronger the oil shows became. So why stop at 15,500 feet? That was all the rig they were drilling with could stand. They wanted to go to 18,000 feet but they would have lost the well due to rig failure if they had kept going. The rig Zion used in 2005 was a 1,000 horsepower rig with at total depth drilling capacity of 15,000 feet. It was the biggest rig in Israel.
So now you can understand why the rig Zion has coming from Turkey in January is such an important part of a commercially viable oil discovery in Northern Israel. Zion discovered oil at the Ma’anit #1 in 2005. They didn’t have the equipment finish the job. Come January they will.
The next press release, issued December 2, announced Zion issuing units and the second closing of their current public offering. Zion issued 350,994 units. A unit is one share of Zion stock and one warrant, giving the purchaser the option to buy one more share at a fixed price ($7.00) any time between the closing of the offering and January 31, 2012. Zion’s stock, as I write this post is at $6.20; it’s been bouncing between $6.10 and $6.50 over the last thirty days. That stock was issued at $7.00 in January of 2007 when the company went public. The fact that the stock has pretty much held its value for two years without any oil production or revenue, and in light of the current global economic meltdown is more than impressive. Makes me wish General Motors and Bank of America stock were as stable. By the way, this public offering has its final closing on January 9. After that, the public will not be able to buy more units (one share of stock & one warrant).
Let’s put two and two together. Zion is taking delivery on the rig that will reach the depth they couldn’t get to when they drilled in 2005. Zion’s public offering is closing January 9. Those who bought or buy (we still have a few weeks left) during the current offering get one share of stock and the right to buy another share at $7.00 any time before January 31, 2012. If Zion’s stock has held its value in the last two years in spite of it not producing any oil revenue and a world economic collapse, imagine where it could go with an oil discovery. I’ll leave the rest of the math to you.
Finally, the last press release issued December 16; Zion announced the purchase of over $1 million in drilling pipe, crating up the drilling rig for transport to Israel and final preparations at the drill site. This isn’t just a post on the internet, folks. It’s the real deal. Zion Oil will be drilling at the first of the year. And who will be a part of whatever happens to Zion in 2009 will be determined when the public offering closes in January.
Back in August we reported on oil exploration efforts in the Judean Reserve of southern Israel. It looks like the Ginko/Delek/Avner partnership has past a final hurdle with the state of Israel. Environmental concerns on Reserve land have been the primary issue in delaying exploration approval.
Below is the November 6 Jerusalem Post article. The original article can be viewed at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1225910056665.
Exploratory drilling for oil in Judean Desert passes final hurdle
The Council of National Parks and Nature Reserves on Thursday approved exploratory drilling for oil in the Judean Desert Nature Reserve, where three companies – Ginko Oil Exploration, Delek Energy Systems, and Avner – believe there could be as much as 6.5 million barrels’ worth.
Drilling for oil in the Judean Desert was approved yesterday by the Council of National Parks and Nature Reserves.
The companies believe that Zuk Tamrur 4, just north of Route 31 from Arad to the Dead Sea, is the best chance Israel has to find oil. That many barrels of oil, while not enough to power the country for more than a month, would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski
The council’s okay followed approval by the Nature and Parks Authority’s (NPA) Assembly, its highest governing body. The 23-member council advises the Environmental Protection Ministry and the NPA on matters of policy. It includes government, environmental, academic and public representatives.
Ginko director Rami Karmin told The Jerusalem Post Thursday that the drilling, the equipment and environmental requirements would cost between $5 million and $7m.
Hebrew University Institute of Earth Sciences Raymond F. Kravis Professor of Geology (Emeritus) Zvi Garfunkel told the Post Thursday that the fact that oil had been found previously could mean there was more.
“In previous drillings, they found a little bit of oil. Indeed, this is Zuk Tamrur 4. There might be a larger reservoir [around there]. But drilling companies usually keep the results of their surveys private,” he said. “There is no smoke without fire, but how big the smoke is and how big the fire is – only the companies know.”
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) vehemently opposed the decision because of its potential impact on the reserve’s fragile ecosystem.
“The state’s institutions are obligated to protect the open spaces, the nature reserves, and most certainly such a special reserve like the Judean Desert, where biodiversity and an ecological system exist almost in their entirety. Therefore we are distressed that this was the decision reached,” Shai Tachnai, SPNI’s southern district coordinator for the preservation of nature, said in a statement.
SPNI quoted the representative of the National Infrastructures Ministry saying at the meeting Thursday morning that there was a 15-percent chance of finding oil below the reserve.
“In the last decade, we have brought about a revolution and turned the Negev and the Judean Desert from a land of quarries to a land of machteshim (erosion craters) and natural attractions. A 15% chance of finding oil does not justify the irreversible damage expected to occur,” Tachnai said.
Regarding that number, Karmin said the companies had never published such an assessment, but “we are optimistic.”
While SPNI protested, the NPA and Environmental Protection Ministry’s representatives voted in favor of the drilling Thursday. During the negotiations for approval from the NPA’s assembly, it was agreed that if oil were found, the pumping would take place from outside the reserve and the companies would rehabilitate any damage caused.
To test for oil, the companies would drill a 2,000-meter hole over 1.25 acres.
Delek Energy Systems and Avner are both controlled by Yitzhak Tshuva.
London’s Financial Times reported on the International Energy Agency’s “World Energy Outlook”. Petroleum output, according to the agency, is declining. At the same time the world’s demand is increasing. Currently world oil output just meets oil demand. The world won’t feel this energy crunch in the short term due to slowed demand as a result of the current economic crisis. But when demand picks up again oil demand will continue to increase as oil production continues to decrease. Without more investment in oil exploration and opening of new fields supply will fail to meet demand and crude oil prices will once again skyrocket and shortages will become a reality. Israel having a domestic oil supply on line by the time by the time a world economic resurgence hits will have a tremendous impact on the nation’s financial and political future. Now, while world markets are down, is the time for Israel to increase oil and gas exploration and secure its energy future.
Here’s the Financial Times excerpt:
“The FT reports output from the world’s oilfields is declining faster than previously thought, the first authoritative public study of the biggest fields shows. Without extra investment to raise production, the natural annual rate of output decline is 9.1%, the International Energy Agency says in its annual report, the World Energy Outlook, a draft of which has been obtained by the Financial Times. The findings suggest the world will struggle to produce enough oil to make up for steep declines in existing fields, such as those in the North Sea, Russia and Alaska, and meet long-term demand. The effort will become even more acute as prices fall and investment decisions are delayed. The IEA, the oil watchdog, forecasts that China, India and other developing countries’ demand will require investments of $360bn each year until 2030. The agency says even with investment, the annual rate of output decline is 6.4 per cent. The decline will not necessarily be felt in the next few years because demand is slowing down, but with the expected slowdown in investment the eventual effect will be magnified, oil executives say”
Does Israel really have oil? That seems to be the question everyone’s asking. Maybe it’s the wrong question. Turn’s out, Exxon and Shell have known about Israel’s oil for nearly ten years. Here’s a clipping from The Jerusalem Post, March 5, 1999. I’ll copy the text here since the clipping is a little hard to read (click on the clipping for a cleaner version).
As a geologist and managing director of various oil exploration companies in Israel over the past 20 years, I was quoted in several paragraphs of Michael Arnold’s article “Slippery dreams” (January 22). I would like to amend and add certain facts as follows:
The oil potential of Israel was evaluated twice at the request of the Israeli government. In 1962, Lewis Weeks, the former chief geologist at Exxon, determined that “the potential ultimate oil resources of Israel should be of the order of 500 to 2,000 million barrels from primary recovery… The figures do not include gas… which may equal 50% and upwards of that of the oil.”
In 1979, James Wilson, former chief geologist or Shell (US) determined that on-shore Israel (the off-shore and the Dead Sea Rift Valley were not included) has a potential of330 to 2,000 million barrels of recoverable oil.
Both these experts have been president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Since the Wilson evaluation in 1979, extensive data have been accumulated relating to on-shore and off-shore Israel. From this data, it becomes clear that the total may exceed 2,000 million barrels.
Israel’s per annum consumption amounts to about 70 million barrels.
The 1962 evaluation predicted that “the finding and recovery of this oil and gas may require many decades” -and evidently assumed that such efforts would be made. Unfortunately, this has not been the case.
It is most likely that this failing is one of the main reasons why the forecast potential has not yet been discovered.
2,000 million barrels? That’s 2 billion barrels. That’s Exxon and Shell saying it. So the question isn’t “does Israel have any oil?” The question is, “If the big boys have known about this for so long, why haven’t they done anything about it?” The answer, unfortunately, is pretty easy. They’ve got larger, established assets in the Arab world and the Arab world has told them, “If you do business with Israel, don’t bother doing business here.” That’s what the 1973 oil embargo was all about.
What’s Israel’s answer? Keep supporting those who are exploring for the oil they know is there. What can we do about it? Stop wondering if Israel really has any oil. It does. If you want to see it come to the surface, support the exploration already in country. This piece of history will come about, and it won’t be long until it does. Those involved in that effort are destined to be written in to the story of Israel’s future.