Zion Oil Releases New Exploration Map

April 9, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. released an updated map of it’s current and applied for exploration area. Updates include splitting Zion’s former ‘Issachar-Zebulun’ permit area into two new (applied for) areas – the ‘Zebulun Permit’ and the ‘Jordan Valley’ license. Surprisingly, Zion has also applied for an exploration license near the Dead Sea in the same area where Ginko/Lapidoth discovered oil in 2006.

According to Israel’s Petroleum Law, an exploration permit cannot exceed 18 months and allows the permit holder to conduct preliminary investigations, but not drill in the permit area. An exploration license is granted for three years and can be extended another four years. Licensees are required to drill test wells in the license area. An exploration license may not exceed 400,000 dunams (approximately 100,000 acres) in area.

Dead Sea Well Approved for Drilling

January 31, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Shahar prospect gets nod for drilling

The well, due to begin drilling in the second quarter, is targeting oil-bearing strata at a depth of 3,300 meters.

Globes 31 January 11 12:22, Yael Gruntman

The Southern Regional Planning and Building Commission has approved the drilling of the Shahar 1 well, scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2010. The well will drill to deep oil-bearing target strata.

Ginko Oil Exploration LP, which fully owns the license, has two positive opinions about the amount about the amount of oil in the license area: one by Dr. Haim Fliegelman, who estimates 260 million barrels of oil, and a second by UK consultancy firm Simco Petroleum (Management) Ltd., which estimates 9-138 million barrels of oil in the target strata.

At the current price of oil of $90 per barrel, the high-end estimate of 260 million barrels of oil is worth $23.4 billion, and the mid-range estimate of 41 million barrels of oil is worth $3.69 billion. Either way, the field has huge potential.

The Shahar license covers 389,000 dunam (97,250 acres) south of the Arava junction at the southern end of the Dead Sea valley. The Shahar 1 well will drill to 3,300 meters at a cost of $9 million. Lapidoth Israel Oil Prospectors Corporation Ltd. (TASE: LAPD) will probably be the well contractor.

Ginko, which owns the Shahar license, is in the final stages of merging with stock market shell Simcha Urieli & Sons Engineering & Construction Co, Ltd. (TASE: UREL), after Urieli’s shareholders approved the merger agreement last week.

A Biblical Treasure Hunt Part 2

April 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 


By Philip Mandelker

(installment two of a series, for installment one click here)

Notwithstanding the desertion of the large international oil and gas companies following the establishment of the State, exploration continued in Israel over the ensuing 50 years, albeit in fits and starts, led by Israeli and a number of smaller American and Canadian companies. Among these companies have been at least seven, which have drilled or participated in the drilling of at least 11 exploratory wells, the founders of which were directly inspired by Biblical references they and many of their supporters interpreted as pointing to the existence of oil and gas reservoirs in particular areas in the Land of Israel. An eighth company, Hoshana Oil, directly inspired by Biblical references, acquired an exploration license, but never drilled a well. – A detailed listing of the companies, their founders and their activities is set out in the Appendix.

Interestingly, with the exception of one company, Ness Energy, founded by Texas oilman Harold “Hayseed” Stephens who, inspired by the stories in Genesis concerning the Cities of the Plain, was drawn to and active in the southwestern corner of the Dead Sea, all of the biblically inspired wildcatters have been drawn to areas in the Sharon Plain and on and around Mt. Carmel, just to its north.

Six of the wells drilled over the years by four companies (Asher Oil, Moriah Exploration, Camberly Exploration, Ness Energy) have been relatively shallow, drilled to targets in rocks of Jurassic age (150 million years old) and into younger rocks of Pliocene and Cretaceous age between 650 and 2,682 meters (2,136 and 8,800 feet) deep. These were all dry holes. Five of the wells drilled by another group of companies (Energy Exploration, Givot Olam Oil Exploration and Zion Oil & Gas) have been drilled to much deeper targets, between 3,500 and 6,531 meters (11,484 and 21,428 feet), into older rocks of Triassic age (200 to 250 million years ago). All these deeper wells – the Atlit #1 (known also as the Asher-Atlit well), the Meged #2, Meged #3, Meged #4 and the Ma’anit #1 (re-entry) – have had strong petroleum shows. Projects responsible for the drilling of four of these wells, the three Meged wells and the Ma’anit #1 well (re-entry) are in early 2006 still active: – the Meged wells drilled by Givot Olam, an Israeli public limited partnership, were recognized in 2004 by the Israeli Petroleum Commissioner as having resulted in a discovery although production has not yet been established; and the Ma’anit #1 (re-entry) well, drilled by Zion Oil & Gas, an American company, is undergoing appraisal and analysis.

What is it in the Bible that inspired the founders of these companies, mostly Christian evangelicals, but also a Jewish Habad Hasid, to spend years of their life and a good part of their personal fortunes on these activities? The founders of the companies that drilled the wells both on and at the foot of Mt. Carmel were generally inspired both by the story of Elijah’s sacrifice described in I Kings 18:30-40, believing that the water poured on Elijah’s offering was oil from oil seeps in the area – and also by the Blessing of Asher in Deuteronomy 33:24. The founders of the three companies who drilled and are drilling the deep wells in the central and northern parts of the Sharon Plain and on the Mediterranean coast north of the Plain of Sharon and west of Mt. Carmel were and continue to be inspired primarily by the Blessings of Joseph and Asher in Genesis 49:22-26 and Deuteronomy 33:13-17 and 24. The founder of Hoshana Oil, who was interested in the area just south and east of Mt. Carmel, was inspired by Blessings of Asher and Zebulon and Issachar in Deuteronomy 33:18-19 and 24.

(for a PDF Download of Philip Mandelker’s entire study go to: http://www.oilinisrael.net/resources/biblical-treasure-hunt-free-pdf)

A Biblical Treasure Hunt Part 1

April 8, 2010 by · 2 Comments 



By Philip Mandelker

(installment one of a series)


The Bible has been the principal source of inspiration to hundreds of millions of people through the ages. Many Jews and Christians believe the Bible to be the absolute Word of God and strive to derive significance from every word of the text. For these individuals, the Land of Israel, within whose borders most of the events told of in the Bible unfold is the Holy Land – ארץ הקודש – the Promised Land – and, as such, has been and continues to be a source of wonder and fascination.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Land of Israel again became readily accessible to European and American Christians and Jews. Jews began to return to the Land, then called Palestine, to resettle it, first in small bands of Zionist pioneers and then in larger and larger groups of immigrants. Christians came mostly as pilgrims to visit and pray at the Holy Sites, but also as scholars. Others came to settle as the Templars; and still others simply as tourists to explore and wonder – who can forget Mark Twain and his Innocents Abroad. But they all came with Bible in hand as their guidebook eager to uncover the Land’s past and present secrets. The scholars established learned societies – the British Palestine Exploration Fund, the American School of Oriental Research, the German Deutscher Verein zur Erforschung Palaestinas. They came as archaeologists, as geographers, as ethnographers, as geologists, as agriculturalists; others came as seekers of fortune, as artists, as poets, as mystics. Some, inspired and guided by the words of the Bible, came to explore for oil.

Oil?! What have the Bible and the Land of Israel to do with oil? Israel may be the Land of Milk and Honey, a land even of olive oil – but petroleum? Everyone has heard of the famous quip that, when coming out of Sinai, Moses mistakenly turned left to Canaan (Israel), the only land in the Middle East without oil, when he should have turned right to Midian (modern Saudi Arabia). Yet there have been oil and gas discoveries in Israel. The Heletz oil field was discovered in 1955 and is still producing, if only marginally, today some 50 years later. The Zohar gas field was discovered near Arad in 1958 and is still in marginal production. Major world class gas discoveries (with estimated reserves of over 3 trillion cubic feet) were made in 1999 and 2000 in the Mediterranean Sea off the coasts of Israel and Gaza.

Indeed, hydrocarbons in the form of tars and asphalts have been known and mined in the Dead Sea region of the Land of Israel since Neolithic times 11-12,000 years ago (Mithen, S., After the Ice, [Phoenix, London, 2003], at pp. 74-75). The Bible in Genesis 14:10 refers to wells of tar or slime as the basis for the wealth of the Cities of the Plain, including Sodom and Gomorrah. Strabo the famous Greek geographer writing at the beginning of the 1st Century of the Common Era (C.E. = A.D.) extensively describes the tar and asphalt seeps in the Dead Sea and the surrounding canyons. (Strabo, Geography, vol. XVI, Chap. 2, paras 42-45.) Josephus in The Jewish War, writing towards the end of the 1st Century of the Common Era discusses the Dead Sea asphalts towards the end of Excursus V.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that in the 1830s, the Austrian mining engineer, Josef von Russeger, conducting a geological survey for the Egyptian government, should report on asphalt seeps from rocks on the southeastern shores of the Dead Sea. The German traveler Rothe describes asphalt seeps and small oil impregnated pools in the Nahal Arnon canyon on the southeastern shore of the Dead Sea in 1874. Similar sightings were made by various geologists and travelers in the late 19th Century and early years of the 20th Century in canyons along the southwestern shore of the Dead Sea (particularly in Nahal Heimar, where tar seeps can be seen even today) and at various other sites in the rift valley from the Dead Sea in the south to the Yarmuk River Valley just south of the Sea of Galilee in the north. (See Lavi, B., Ha’zahav Ha’shachor b’Eretz Yisrael (Black Gold in the Land of Israel) [Carmel, Jerusalem, 1999] [“Black Gold in Israel”], at pp. 24-27 and the sources cited there.)

Serious commercial interest in petroleum exploration in the Land of Israel goes back to the beginning of the 20th century. The Socony Vacuum Company, predecessor of Mobil Oil, received exploration licenses in the years preceding World War I, though the first well was not commenced until 1947 by the British-dominated Iraqi Petroleum Company which had discovered the major oil fields in northern Iraq. This first well, known as the Huleikhat Well, was abandoned shortly after its commencement as a result of increasing violence in the area preceding Israel’s independence. The well (renamed the Heletz #1 and still in marginal production) was reentered by two small Israeli oil exploration companies in 1955 and led to the Heletz field discovery. Regrettably though, essentially for geo-political reasons, following Israel’s independence, the large international oil and gas companies which had been involved in the area since before World War I withdrew from Israel and have since steered clear of the Land and refused to participate in oil and gas exploration activities there, preferring to protect their interests in the Arab and Islamic world.[1]

[1] At the end of the 1990s, following the discovery of the Mari field by the Israeli-American Yam Tethys (the Delek group and Noble Energy) consortium, British Gas, a large multinational natural gas company extensively involved in Egypt, got involved in off-shore exploration in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coast. In early 2005, British Gas, after failing over a period of several years to interest other international oil and gas companies to participate in the project, returned almost all its rights to the Israeli government for a combination of geo-political and commercial reasons while retaining its Palestinian and Egyptian interests.

(for a PDF Download of Philip Mandelker’s entire study go to: http://www.oilinisrael.net/resources/biblical-treasure-hunt-free-pdf)

Israel’s Biblical Oil Explorers

March 27, 2010 by · 3 Comments 



By Philip Mandelker





1.         Company: Asher Oil Company

Founder: Wesley Hancock. California based. A family company was active in oil and gas exploration in the United States.

Scriptural Basis: Blessing of Asher in Deuteronomy and story of Elijah’s sacrifice in I Kings.

Period of Activity: Early-middle 1960s.

Area of Activity: North-east flank of Mt. Carmel overlooking the plain of the Kishon Stream.

Primary Activity: Drilling of two wells:

(i) Asher #1: 1963 – drilled to 2,391 meters (7,845 ft) to a target in the Middle Jurassic. Results: Dry.

(ii) Asher #2: 1965 – drilled to 1,314 meters (4,311 ft) to a target in the Middle Jurassic. Results: Dry

Related Non-Scripturally Inspired Drilling:

In 1975, Sonol, a major Israeli gasoline marketing company reentered the Asher #2 well and deepened it to 2,596 meters (8,517 ft) to a target in the Early Jurassic. In 1980, OEL, an Israeli-government exploration company drilled the Asher #3 near the first two Asher wells to 574 meters (1,883 ft) to a Cretaceous target. Both these wells were dry.

2.         Company: Energy Exploration Inc.

Founder: Andy Sorelle. Texas based petroleum engineer and wildcatter.

Scriptural Basis: Blessing of Asher in Deuteronomy

Period of Activity: First half of 1980s.

Area of Activity: Coastal plain between Mt. Carmel and the Mediterranean Sea, specifically in the area of the town of Atlit.

Primary Activity: Drilling of one well in two stages:

(i) Atlit #1: 1981 – drilled to 5,273 meters (17,301 ft) to a target in the Early Jurassic. Results: Dry

(ii) Atlit #1 Deep: 1982-1983 – deepened the Atlit #1 to 6,531 meters (21,428 ft) to target in Late Triassic. Results: asphalt and then light oil shows in cuttings before well was lost for technical reasons.

3.         Company: Moriah Exploration

Founder: Gilman Hill. Colorado based geoscientist active in oil and gas exploration and developer of exploration technology.

Scriptural Basis: Story of Elijah’s sacrifice in I Kings and the Blessing of Asher in Deuteronomy.

Period of Activity: Early and mid-1980s.

Area of Activity: Mt. Carmel near the traditional site of the Elijah sacrifice.

Primary Activity: Drilling of two wells in 1980 and 1986:

(i) Elijah #1: 1980 – drilled to 2,682 meters (8,800 ft) to a target in the Middle Jurassic. Results: Dry.

(ii) Elijah #2: 1986 – drilled to 651 meters (2,136 ft) to a target in the Cenomanian. Results: Dry.

4.         Company: Ness Energy

Founder: Harold “Hayseed” Stephens. A Texas oil and gas explorationist and operator.

Scriptural Basis: Genesis stories of Sodom and Gomorrah and a long series of scriptural references in various books of the Old Testament.

Period of Activity: 1980s and late 1990s-2001.

Area of Activity: Area surrounding the southwest quadrant of the Dead Sea and adjacent areas.

Primary Activity: Participation in drilling of one well in 1985; acquisition of certain exploration licenses in the late 1990s. The well, the Har Sedom #1 was targeted to be drilled to about 3,500 meters about 11,500 ft), but was lost for technical reasons at 1,818 meters (5,965 ft) in the Pliocene. The exploration licenses were lost following the failure of Ness to meet its obligations under the licenses to commence the drilling of wells on the license areas.

Related Non-Scripturally Inspired Drilling Activity

The Har Sedom #1 project and well were developed and operated by an Israeli commercial oil exploration company, Seismica. Ness Energy held a minority working interest (about 15%) in the well.

5.         Company: Hoshana Oil Company

Founder: Bernard Coffindaffer. West Virginia based evangelical minister and missionary.

Scriptural Basis: Blessings of Asher, Zebulon and Issachar in Deuteronomy

Period of Activity: Early 1990s

Area of Activity: Southern flank of Mt. Carmel and the Valley of Jezreel just east of the South-eastern flank of Mt. Carmel.

Primary Activity: Acquisition of an exploration license and reprocessing and analysis of seismic data. License lapsed with no progress made towards drilling of well.

6.         Company: Camberly Exploration

Founder: Lyle Harron. Canadian oil and gas explorationist.

Scriptural Basis: Blessings of Asher in Deuteronomy

Period of Activity: Early-middle 1990s.

Area of Activity: Coastal plain between Mt. Carmel and the Mediterranean Sea.

Primary Activity: Drilling of one well:

(i) Atlit #2: 1996 – drilled to 1,633 meters (5,388 ft) to a target in the Early Cretaceous. Results: Dry.

7.         Company: Givot Olam Oil Exploration

Founder: Tovia Luskin. Russian born and educated geophysicist, active in oil and gas exploration in Canada and Australia, before moving to Israel.

Scriptural Basis: The Blessings of Joseph in Genesis and Deuteronomy

Period of Activity: 1990s to date

Area of Activity: Eastern portion of Sharon Plain between Netanya and Modiin

Primary Activity: Drilling of three wells commencing in 1994:

(i) Meged #2: 1994 – drilled to 5,200 meters (17,061 ft) to a target in the Triassic. Results: 400 API Silurian aged oil recovered from the Middle Triassic.

(ii) Meged #3: 2000 – drilled to 4,742 meters (15,683 ft) to a target in the Triassic. Results: Oil and gas shows in the Middle Triassic, but reservoir of very poor quality (very low porosity and permeability.)

(iii) Meged #4: 2002/3 – drilled to 4,919 meters (16,139 ft) to a target in the Triassic. Results: 360 API Silurian aged oil recovered from the Middle Triassic. Attempts in 2005 to drill a horizontal bore-hole in the well in an attempt to recover the oil which is located in tight reservoir rock failed apparently for technical reasons, with the well abandoned following loss of equipment in the horizontal bore.

Plans underway to drill another Meged well and attempt to develop the Meged field discovery, which was recognized by the Israel Petroleum Commissioner in 2004.

8.         Company: Zion Oil & Gas, Inc.

Founder: John Brown. Michigan and Texas based businessman with roots in the machine-tool industry and active in building contracting sectors.

Scriptural Basis: The Blessings of Joseph in Genesis and Deuteronomy.

Period of Activity: 1990s to date.

Area of Activity: Manasseh hills and Sharon plain from the southern flanks of Mt. Carmel to Netanya.

Primary Activity: Drilling of a well in 2005:

(i) Ma’anit #1: (Re-entry) 2005 – deepening of previously abandoned Ma’anit #1 from 2,335 meters (7,661 ft) to 4,719 meters (15,483 ft) to targets in the Middle and Early Triassic. Results: The company announced that during drilling and completion operations, the well had numerous significant oil and gas shows in a 2,100-foot interval.

Analysis of the results of the well is continuing and future activity, including designing comprehensive completion procedure and drilling of an appraisal well being considered.

Related Non-Scripturally Inspired Drilling Activity:

The Ma’anit #1 was originally drilled to 2,335 meters (7,661 ft) in 1995 by an Israeli commercial oil exploration company, Sdot Neft. Though originally targeted to 4,500 meters (14,765 ft), it was abandoned as a dry hole after Sdot Neft ran out of money

(for a PDF Download of Philip Mandelker’s entire study go to: http://www.oilinisrael.net/resources/biblical-treasure-hunt-free-pdf)

Zerah and Ginko get Negev gas exploration license

February 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Orly prospect is north of Arad.

Globes Online: Mira Awwad 16 Feb 10 17:46

The Orly license covers a 102,400 (50,600-acre) area in the southern Judean Desert, above the Dead Sea.

Under the terms of the license, Zerah and Ginko will conduct a 2D seismic survey of the prospect by mid-October 2010, analyze the results and submit a drilling proposal by mid-February 2011. They will begin drilling a 2,000-meter well by mid-October 2011, and submit a report for further operations at the well within four months of the completion of the well.

Last week, Zerah obtained the offshore Gulliver license.

Oil Discovered Near Dead Sea

January 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

judean rig

JERUSALEM, Jan 24 (Reuters) – An Israeli oil exploration group said on Sunday it has found indications of oil in drilling near the Dead Sea.

But the group said it was not yet clear if there were commercial quantities of oil at the Tzuk Tamrur 4 site.

“A preliminary analysis found the target with oil-bearing sandstone,” it said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The site was drilled to a depth of 2,040 metres and the group plans to drill further to 2,150 metres.

When drilling is complete the group will then decide whether it was viable to pursue production tests, it said.

Zerah Oil and Gas Exploration (ZRAHp.TA) owns half of the exploration group, with Delek Drilling (DEDRp.TA) and Avner Oil Exploration (AVNRp.TA) owning 25 percent each. Delek and Avner are units of conglomerate Delek Group (DELKG.TA).

Zerah’s shares were up 14.7 percent in afternoon trading. Delek Drilling’s shares were 0.2 percent lower and Avner’s shares were down 1 percent, compared with losses of 2.3 percent on the broader Tel Aviv bourse. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Zerah teams with Delek to expand Dead Sea oil exploration

October 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 


Thu. October 15, 2009

Zerah teams with Delek to expand Dead Sea oil exploration: In 1995, a 2,000-meter well was drilled in the Halamish section, which found oil and gas.

Zerah Oil And Gas Explorations LP (TASE: ZRAH) is expanding its activity in the Dead Sea. The company has bought the 335-square kilometer Zurim license from Fore Group Ltd. subsidiary Ginko Oil Exploration Ltd., which abuts Zerah’s license. Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) units owns half of a 35 square kilometer section of the Zurim License, known as the Halamish section through Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L) and Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L).

Zerah will pay for the Zurim license out of future revenue from oil or gas production, if any. Zerah will pay Ginko a 2.5 percent royalty of revenue and provide it a $2 million grant, provided that an independent expert determines that the oil and gas reserves in the license are worth at least $250 million. In addition, the Supervisor of Oil at the Ministry of National Infrastructures will have to declare a discovery at the license, and the partnerships’ revenue from a discovery at the Zurim license will exceed $100 million.

In 1995, a 2,000-meter well was drilled in the Halamish section, which found oil and gas. However, no production was carried out because the price of oil at the time rendered the discovery uneconomical.

The Halamish partners intend to drill a new well at the site, which is about five kilometers from Tzuk Tamrur 4 site, where Zerah and Delek are due to begin drilling a well this month. The 2,000-meter well will cost $4-5 million. A seismic study of the structure found a closed structure with 6.6 million barrels of good-quality oil, currently worth a gross value of $470 million.

Israeli Group to Start Drilling for Dead Sea Oil

September 10, 2009 by · 6 Comments 

Tzuk Tamrur site near the Dead Sea

An Israeli consortium that includes a group largely responsible for the recent discovery of natural gas deposits off the country’s Mediterranean coast plans to begin exploratory drilling for oil at the Dead Sea next month.

The Delek Group headed by Yitzhak Tshuva previously headed the consortium that found billions of dollars worth of natural gas just 50 miles off the coast of the northern Israel city of Haifa. Tshuva is convinced that other sources of energy exist in the country, including oil deposits worth at least half a billion dollars under and around the Dead Sea.

Following his consortium’s natural gas find earlier this year, Tshuva said he believed Israel would very soon become energy independent, and even start exporting natural gas, leading to a major economic revolution in the country.

But Tshuva won’t be alone in his search for oil in Israel. Texas-based, Christian-run Zion Oil & Gas has been searching for oil in Israel since 2000. Founder John Brown says the Bible makes it clear Israel will be energy independent in the last days. The company’s two exploratory drillings have so far given inconclusive results, but have sparked enough optimism for Zion Oil & Gas to continue its operations.

Zion’s Search for Oil in Israel on French TV

August 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Next Page »