(from Natural Gas Asia) Delek Drilling-LP (DEDRL) and its partners in Israel’s Tamar gas field have signed a $5 billon agreement to supply Dalia Power Energies Ltd. with natural gas for 17 years.
Bloomberg reports that Tel Aviv-based Dalia Power is building a power station using natural gas at the Tzafit site in central Israel. Once completed, the plant would supply some 8 per cent of national energy consumption, making it one of the country’s biggest privately operated power stations. Israel is encouraging the development of independent power producers to introduce competition in a market monopolized by state-owned Israel Electric Corp. “This is one of several deals that we expect to come,” said Richard Gussow, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in Tel Aviv.
In November of last year, South Korean giant Daewoo signed a deal with the partners in the Tamar field, (Noble, Delek Group and Isramco Inc.) to develop the Tamar gas field. Daewoo expects to produce liquefied natural gas from the field by the end of 2016. Estimates put the field to have 240 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Amount of natural gas and economic implications of discovery at Mediterranean Sea site yet to be determined.
A deeper layer of natural gas has been discovered at the Tamar field, off the coast of Haifa, according to a report published on Thursday by Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration.
The impact of the newly discovered reserve has not yet been analyzed nor released in full. The significance of the newly discovered structure will depend on the amount of natural gas at Tamar and on the estimations of additional layers in other areas of the Mediterranean Sea that have not yet been discovered.
The new reserve, ‘Layer D’, was discovered beneath ‘Tamar 3′, and is said to be up to 25 meters wide.
According to the report, Noble Energy – the American partner leading the consortium – is gathering data on Layer D and analyzing the implications of the extent of the reserves at Tamar. It is currently not possible to determine the size and economic implications of the newly discovered reserve.
Noble owns 36% of Tamar, while Isramco Negev owns 28.75% and Delek Group, controlled by Yitzhak Tshuva, has a 31% percent stake through two units with equal shares of 15.6% each, Avner Oil Exploration and Delek Drilling.
The Tamar site is the largest natural gas discovery in Israel and plans on selling natural gas to Israel in 2013.
The Lebanese proposal of its maritime border with Israel that is currently under dispute does not include the Tamar and Leviathan gas prospects.
Noble Energy chairman and CEO Charles Davidson expressed optimism that there will be more gas fields discovered at a press conference in Tel Aviv today.
He said, “We conducted a 3D seismic survey, which will provide very sophisticated information enabling us to know whether there are more reservoirs. We believe that there are other reserves adjacent to the Tamar and Dalit reservoirs. We’re now analyzing the results of the seismic survey. I hope that we’ll continue to find natural gas in this country. I’m optimistic about more reservoirs, whether at Leviathan or elsewhere.”
Davidson added, “Israel was the land of milk and honey in Biblical times, but in the modern era, its milk and honey and natural gas. In Israel’s deep waters, in virgin territory, a monster natural gas discovery has been made.”
Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) is a partner in the Tamar and Dalit offshore gas fields, together with Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) subsidiaries Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L) and Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L), Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L), and Dor Alon Energy in Israel (1988) Ltd. (TASE:DRAL) subsidiary Dor Alon Energy Exploration Ltd. It is also a partner with Delek Group in the Yam Tethys partnership, which owns a natural gas field offshore from Ashkelon, and in the Leviathan prospect, west of Tamar, with Delek Group Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L).
Noble Energy convened the press conference at the Tel Aviv Hilton not only to wax poetic about biblical Israel, but to outline its program to develop its natural gas reserves in Israel. Investors are eager for any scrap of information about the Leviathan lease, where 3D seismic survey is underway, whose results are due later this month. If gas is found, the prospect’s partners will begin drilling toward the end of the year, at an estimated cost of $100 million.
Davidson said, “The company expects to drill into another large structure during the second half of the year, and to drill in the two discoveries already made during 2011.”
The statement reiterates what Noble Energy said in the conference call following the publication of its financial report for 2009 last month, without explicitly mentioning “Leviathan”. “As for Tamar, the immediate challenge is to reach an agreement with the government on how to bring the gas to shore, since seafront real estate in Israel is very expensive. One possibility is to build a new terminal, another is to use Yam Tethys’ existing infrastructure,” Davidson said.
Davidson promised that the company would meet its timetable for the Tamar well. The well’s partners are due to publish their development plan for the reservoir in the second half of the year. The plan will reportedly cost more than $2.6 billion, with gas production beginning in early 2012.
“We’ve been here for over ten years already,” said Davidson. “Noble Energy won’t be here for years, but for decades. I can’t imagine a better place to be than here.”
Noble Energy will invest $140 million in gas exploration in Israel in 2010, almost 10% of its budget.
Shares of Israeli gas and oil exploration partnerships on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) have skyrocketed by hundreds and even thousands of percent in the past year, as investors seek the next Isramco. Davidson, however, sends a clear message to investors: Be careful. “Oil and gas exploration shares were hyped last year, and I urge caution,” he said. “There is no sure thing in the energy industry, and in the end, only a few companies will succeed. There’s an upside potential in the shares of Noble Energy. I’m a long-distance runner, and I don’t comment about the market’s response over the next week or two. We’re managing projects that will last us decades. In this business, you don’t plan for days, but for the long haul.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com
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.
Zion Oil CEO Richard Rinberg announced to shareholders today in his weekly drilling update that drilling of the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 well has been completed at 17,913 feet; 131 feet short of its intended target depth. From company reports, it still isn’t clear whether or not the bottom of the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 is in an upper Permian or lower Triassic stratum.
Rinberg stated that, “There were a number of factors that influenced our decision not to drill deeper.” But the only factor he gave stockholders was the increased risk of loosing the well from a cave-in due to a long section of ‘open hole’ (uncased) at the bottom of the well. Given the fact that the distance between the drill bit and the motor was nearly 3.4 miles, losing the well due to a cave-in or other catastrophic failure is a very real concern. Whatever the other factors influencing the decision to stop drilling were, they weren’t stated by Rinberg – so we’ll have to leave any other reasons to speculation.
Speculation, however, is something Zion’s managers can’t do – at least not publicly. Because the company is publicly held and in the process of another stock offering, SEC regulations prohibit Zion’s management from any form of public ‘speculation’ that could be construed as an attempt to paint a picture of the company’s future prospects in way that might not be a 100% factual projection at the moment. The SEC calls these “Forward Looking Statements”. That means Zion’s management is pretty much limited to telling us what they ‘know’ they’ve got in the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 well and not what they ‘think’ they’ve got. Which, at this point, doesn’t make for much news.
So if you’re going to draw conclusions, you can draw some of them from what’s not said :
- The Ma’anit Rehoboth #2 isn’t a gusher (“Gusher” is an old term for a self pressurized free-flowing oil well). If oil was flowing out of the top of the well, it would be a fact, not a “Forward Looking Statement.” Zion shareholders (and the rest of the world) would know about it.
- There’s no definite agreement as to whether or not the bottom of the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 is in the Permian.
- The Ma’anit Rehoboth #2 hasn’t suffered any sort of catastrophic failure. As sparing as Zion’s management has been with potential good news, to their credit, they’ve always been forthcoming in reporting any bad news. If any sort of trend can be discerned, as far as Zion is concerned, no news is more likely good news than bad … or simply, no news.
- If you follow the general energy exploration news coming out of Israel as closely as I do (that’s pretty close), then you may have discerned by now that Israel is in the beginnings of an energy ‘gold -rush’. The HUGE natural gas discovery off the Haifa coast has insured Israel’s energy (gas and electric) needs in the foreseeable future. Givot Olam has reported, and the state of Israel has accepted, that they have nearly a billion barrels of oil under the ground just south of Zion’s license area; they just haven’t been able to get it to the surface yet (by the way – they’re drilling as I write). Oil discoveries in the Dead Sea region (not huge, but there) are being reported and same companies involved in the off shore discovery are now buying into the Dead Sea exploration. Translation: Oil and gas discoveries in Israel aren’t a future possibility, they’re a present reality.
Now let’s draw some conclusions from what has been said:
- The Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 well is at 17,913 feet (2071 feet deeper than the Ma’anit #1).
- Their are “seven zones that warrant completion testing” (I can’t locate documentation, but I believe there were three to five “zones that warranted testing” in the Ma’anit #1).
- What’s been concluded is the “drilling phase”. The determination as to whether or not the well will produce commercial hydrocarbons comes in the “completion phase.”
- The rig will soon be moved to the next drilling site, at the ‘foot of Asher.’ Zion Oil & Gas is a professional oil exploration company with multiple leases and multiple drilling prospects in the nation of Israel. Zion Oil is not a ‘one hole wildcatter.’ There is absolutely no reason to give up on the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 at this point, the well hasn’t even been tested yet. But regardless of how much or how little oil and/or gas the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 produces, Zion will continue drilling for oil and gas in northern Israel.
Now let’s look at the big picture:
- Zion Oil owns most of the exploration license area in northern Israel – 327,000 acres.
- The Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 is among the deepest wells ever drilled, in one of the most promising locations, drilled with the best equipment, manned by the most adept crew, tested with the most sophisticated equipment that onshore Israel has ever seen. That’s not hyperbole, it’s fact.
- Geology and recent experience have proven – natural gas and oil lie beneath the land (and offshore) of Israel.
- If you want big picture, here’s the biggest – Zion Oil, Noble Energy, Delek, Givot Olam and the rest didn’t promise Israel’s children “The blessings of the deep that lies beneath.” Israel’s God did (Genesis 49:25). From where I sit, it looks like He’s keeping His promise. We’ll find out more about the Ma’anit-Rehoboth specifically as Zion begins their “completion phase”.
- Just as a reminder, I’ve dug up a photo taken at the Ma’anit #1 in 2005. That’s a hydrocarbon flare from the well – it’s down there.
Keep the faith.
One bright spot in Israel’s financial markets. Today Israel’s Haaretz news organization posted a fairly bleak story on Israel’s financial markets. (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1065141.html) Nothing new in that; stories of down markets are the daily fare in the midst of our worldwide economic meltdown. There was, however a bright spot (brilliant bright!) “Isramco, a main partner in the Tamar-1 exploration that found the huge field of gas off the Haifa shore, exploded upwards again, closing 24% higher on huge turnover of NIS 90 million.” Stock value in Delek Group, also a partner in the Tamar-1 gas discovery, has more than doubled in the last two months. Could Israel’s massive gas discovery (and possibly and oil discovery in the near future) play a major role in saving Israel’s economy? It looks like it already is. Just so you know, here are the partners in the Tamar -1:
Who all is involved in Israel’s offshore gas discovery? Just so you know, here are the partners in the Tamar -1:
1. Noble Energy: 36 percent (Houston, TX, ticker symbol: NBL – NYSE, http://www.nobleenergyinc.com)
2. Isramco Negev: 28.75 percent (Petach Tikvah, Israel, ticker symbol: ISRA.L – TLV)
3. Avner Oil Exploration: 15.625 percent (Petach Tikvah, Israel, ticker symbol: AVNR.L – TLV)
4. Delek Drilling: 15.625 percent (Netanya, Israel, ticker symbol: DEDR.L –TLV, http://www.delek.co.il )
5. Dor Gas Exploration: 4 percent (Yakum, Israel)
Last month Delek-Noble an energy exploration partnership, announced a massive natural gas discovery off Israel’s northern coast. According to reports, they may have enough natural gas to supply Israel’s needs for fifteen years.
In the energy exploration world it’s generally understood that where you find gas, you find oil and vice-versa. Zion Oil and Gas, founded by John Brown received its first onshore exploration license in 2000. Brown came to Israel in the 1980’s with the belief that a massive oil discovery for Israel was predicted in the pages of the Bible. With nothing but his Bible and his faith John Brown began his quest for Israel’s oil. The company now holds 162,000 acres under license in Northern Israel and is planning to drill its second well next month.
Last week I asked Zion CEO Richard Rinberg if Delek-Noble’s recent offshore discovery affects Zion’s chances of discovering oil and gas onshore, how the current world economy is playing into their exploration efforts and about Zion’s drilling plan.
Steve Spillman: Delek and Noble Energy announced a massive natural gas discovery off the coast of Haifa earlier this month. How has this news affected the optimism of Israel’s citizens about the country’s energy future? How has it affected optimism for onshore oil and gas exploration?
Richard Rinberg: Due to the size of the offshore discovery, there’s little doubt that optimism in oil and gas exploration, both offshore and onshore, has increased.
At Zion Oil we are delighted, as this discovery is very good for Israel and we believe validates our belief that significant oil and gas reserves can be found in Israel.
The discovery also reinforces the decision by the Government of Israel to continue building the gas pipeline infrastructure and electric generating plants powered by natural gas.
Due to the high cost of developing this new field, surprisingly, the result may well be higher gas prices.
For years, the Israel Electric Company (IEC) has purchased gas at prices below the normal international market price. But with declining production from the Yam Tethy’s field, their reliance on natural gas to power five generating plants (with two more under construction), and the uncertainty of Egyptian supply, IEC may no longer be in a position to ensure that the price that they pay for natural gas is below normal international market prices. If the price isn’t reasonable, then the owners of the new discovery can export their produced gas.
We believe that the market will be able to absorb any new gas finds and, as a result of this discovery, any natural gas that Zion may discover and produce could be worth more than estimated before this discovery.
SS: Do you think this discovery may have any direct relevance to what you expect to find in the Joseph and Asher license areas?
RR: There is no direct relevance to our exploration in terms of a continuation in a geological structure. Our expectation is unchanged – we are still very optimistic.
SS: The world economy has been pretty shaken up over the past several months. Oil prices have plummeted. How do the world economic situation and oil prices affect Zion’s exploration plans?
RR: In 2008, we implemented a $10-unit public offering and raised over $6.4 million in cash, in order to fund our drilling plans in Israel. The offering was certainly a success, but we were hoping to gather significantly more funds than we did. The world financial crisis had its negative effect on us, just as on everyone else.
Perhaps surprising to the person in the street, the fall in the price of oil is actually good for Zion’s drilling plans, as we will have cost savings of $500,000 to $700,000 as a result of lower shipping and transport costs and lower fuel costs during drilling. We are very happy to ‘suffer’ a low oil price during our drilling operations.
Of course, at a later stage… well let’s save that for another day.
SS: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost about forty percent of its value in the last year. Other world markets, including Israel’s have fared the same or worse. Zion just completed a public follow-on offering in which it raised more than $6.6 million and even though the company has yet to produce any oil; its stock value is higher now than when the company first went public. How do you account for a successful public offering and Zion’s stock value in the middle of the current economic meltdown?
RR: There are a number of different answers I could give, but perhaps the truth is ‘all of the answers, at the same time’.
Everyone who works at Zion believes in the uniqueness of our company and our goal to help Israel by finding oil and gas, onshore in Israel. I believe that the vast majority of our stockholders also recognize that Zion is not just another company. They purchased the stock to support our work and hold; it’s not just another trade.
Simply put, those who work at Zion or support Zion by owning stock have faith that all will eventually work out, in the Lord’s good time. Those who hold the stock just don’t want to let it go.
From a business standpoint, our goal is to build value into the company and, of course, success with our exploration work would inevitably be reflected by a higher stock price.
SS: Zion has contracted with the Turkish oil drilling company AME, for a 2,000 horsepower drilling rig. AME’s rig is bigger – can go deeper than any drilling rig currently available in Israel. My understanding is that the Israeli rig Zion used to drill the Ma’anit #1 well in 2005 wasn’t mechanically able to reach a depth beyond 15,500 feet. And it’s your opinion that the Ma’anit #1 failed to produce simply because the well wasn’t deep enough. Is that correct?
RR: We drilled the Ma’anit #1 well to a depth of 15,842 feet, to the Triassic formation, with encouraging results. However, due to the mechanical condition of the well-bore, in June 2007, we decide to abandon the well. The well failed to produce due to mechanical problems and not, we believe, because of the absence of oil and gas.
You are correct that the rig that we used back then was not capable of drilling any deeper than we actually did.
The whole reason for bringing a 2,000 horsepower rig into Israel is to enable us to ‘explore the deep’ and drill down to the Permian geological formation.
This time we have all the extensive knowledge gained during the drilling of the Ma’anit #1 well, so we are better prepared to deal with the mechanical problems than before.
SS: When is the AME rig expected to arrive at the Ma’anit Rehoboth #2 site? When do you expect to be drilling?
RR: We currently expect the drilling rig to arrive in Israel, rig-up and commence drilling in March 2009.
SS: Is the $6.6 million Zion raised in the follow-on offering enough to complete the project?
RR: Oil and gas exploration is a very expensive business and our project has much work ahead of it. There are many wells to be drilled on our license areas. So, we will proceed with our operational work, while at the same time keeping a weather eye on our cash reserves. At some stage, we hope and believe, Zion will become (very) cash-positive.
SS: What are Zion’s exploration plans beyond the Ma’anit Rehoboth #2 well?
RR: We are already planning our third well, the Elijah #3 well and have further plans that are, as yet, not in the public domain, so we cannot discuss them at present.
SS: Zion’s mission is to produce oil and gas in Israel. A major oil discovery in Israel will certainly have a significant economic impact on the country. Do you think the implications of Zion Oil & Gas accomplishing its mission will reach beyond economics?
RR: Without a doubt. Zion’s Founder and Chairman, John Brown, came to this project due to an idea planted in his mind by your father, Jim Spillman, and his book. John became convinced that the Holy Bible contained clear references to oil in Israel and the location where that oil may be found.
Over a number of years, John gathered a group of geologists and oil and gas professionals together, including Zion’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Glen Perry. Glen is an oil and gas professional who will readily tell you that this project is the most exciting he has ever been involved with in his long and successful career.
With success, John will say “See, the Book is true!” And for those who hear Zion’s story, there will certainly be much contemplation that something truly historical has occurred – perhaps even a spiritual awakening and the dawning of a new age.
“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.