JERUSALEM, Jan 1 8 (Reuters) – Shares of Israeli energy companies soared on Sunday after an exploration group led by Noble Energy (NBL.N) said it discovered more than 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

Among Israeli partners in the Yam Thetis consortium, Isramco (ISRAp.TA), with a 28.75 percent stake, led gainers with a nearly 130 percent surge.

Delek Drilling (DEDRp.TA), which holds 15.625 percent of the group, jumped 48 percent, while Avner Oil Exploration, also with a 15.625 percent stake, (AVNRp.TA) was up 36 percent.

Delek’s parent, Delek Group (DELKG.TA), rose 54 percent.

Overall, the blue-chip Tel Aviv 25 index .TA25 was up 2.6 percent, while the broader TA-100 .TA100 was 3.7 percent higher at midday.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; editing by John Stonestreet)

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