Zion Oil & Gas began re-entry operations this week at their Elijah #3 well in Northern Israel. Israeli drilling company, Lapidoth, erected it’s drilling rig and prepared the site. Zion is scheduled to begin its vertical seismic profile operation in the well early next week after completing wireline logging.
Dallas, Texas and Caesarea, Israel – July 2, 2012 – Zion Oil & Gas, Inc. (NASDAQ GM: ZN) announced today that, on June 28, 2012, it signed an agreement with Lapidoth Israel Oil Prospectors Corp. Ltd (“Lapidoth”) regarding further exploratory work to be performed in Zion’s Asher-Menashe License area in northern Israel.
Under the terms of the workover agreement, in July 2012, Lapidoth will mobilize their Franks 750 drilling rig to Zion’s temporarily suspended Elijah #3 well. The planned work program includes re-entering the existing wellbore, partially drilling out the existing plug, acquiring electric log data via wireline, acquiring vertical seismic profile data, and possibly obtaining sidewall core samples.
Zion’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Rinberg, said today, “The signing of the agreement with Lapidoth allows us to move forward with our exploration program in our Asher-Menashe License area. We look forward to acquiring vertical seismic profile data in this petroleum exploration area, as the additional seismic data should help us to evaluate the next steps we need to take with respect to our temporarily suspended Elijah #3 well and also to identify prospects within this license area.”
The primary purpose of the planned work is to obtain additional geologic and geophysical data and to better understand the hydrocarbon potential of a zone through which Zion drilled while drilling the Elijah #3 well in 2009/2010. The Elijah #3 well, originally planned to drill to below 17,000 feet to test both Triassic and Permian-aged geological formations, was temporarily suspended after encountering technical issues at a total depth of approximately 11,000 feet.
Zion’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Victor Carrillo, said today: “We hope to learn more about the observed oil and gas shows in a zone from approximately 8,000 to 9,000 feet that were correlated to other regional hydrocarbon shows. Zion has never sought an offset vertical seismic profile in Israel and we hope to obtain a better subsurface image of the zone near the wellbore to determine future oil prospects in this area.”
Zion Oil & Gas, a Delaware corporation, explores for oil and gas in Israel in areas located onshore between Haifa and Tel Aviv. It currently holds three petroleum exploration licenses: the Joseph License (on approximately 83,272 acres) and the Asher-Menashe License (on approximately 78,824 acres) between Netanya, in the south, and Haifa, in the north, and the Jordan Valley License (on approximately 55,845 acres), just south of the Sea of Galilee. The total license area amounts to approximately 218,000 acres
The well, due to begin drilling in the second quarter, is targeting oil-bearing strata at a depth of 3,300 meters.
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.