The discovery well was drilled to a depth of 19,225 feet in water depth of about 5,540 feet. Results from drilling, formation logs and initial evaluation work indicate an estimated gross resource range(1) of 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), with a gross mean of 7 Tcf. The Cyprus Block 12 field covers approximately 40 square miles and will require additional appraisal drilling prior to development.
Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy’s Chairman and CEO, said, “We are excited to announce the discovery of significant natural gas resources inCyprus on Block 12. This is the fifth consecutive natural gas field discovery for Noble Energy and our partners in the greater Levant basin, with total gross mean resources for the five discoveries currently estimated to be over 33 Tcf. This latest discovery in Cyprus further highlights the quality and significance of this world-class basin.”
Noble Energy operates the well with a 70 percent working interest. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration will each have 15 percent, subject to final approval by the Government of Cyprus.
(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.
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 6 (UPI) — Lebanon has raised the stakes in the high-octane poker game under way in the natural gas-rich eastern Mediterranean by approving a law to administer offshore exploration and drilling, joining Israel, Cyprus and Turkey in a potentially explosive race for energy riches.
The Beirut government laid down the regulations for the emerging energy industry Wednesday.
“If all goes as scheduled,” said Cesar Abi Khalil, an Energy Ministry adviser, “the licensing round will be held this year.
“The companies will have six months to bid and then the winners will be chosen and exploration will begin.”
Energy expert Roudi Baroudi estimates that Lebanon’s reserves total three times those of Libya’s 54 trillion cubic feet. That’s probably a major overestimate. But it’s certain to heighten tension in the region triggered by Israel’s discovery of major gas fields off its coast, a drive by nearby Cyprus to follow suit and Turkey’s threat to send in its navy to stop the other two from joining forces to exploit the region’s energy riches.
On top of this, Beirut claims parts of the Israeli gas fields lie in Lebanese waters. The two countries are technically at war.
Hezbollah, the heavily armed, Iranian-backed Lebanese “resistance movement,” has warned it will repel Israeli efforts to “plunder” what it considers Lebanese energy reserves. Israel has vowed to use force to protect its assets.
Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 in which Lebanon’s infrastructure was heavily bombed. The seasoned Lebanese fighters battled Israel’s vaunted military to a standstill and claimed a “divine victory.”
Both sides view the inconclusive conflict as unfinished business.
It remains to be seen whether the dispute over the vast natural gas reserves, along with several billion barrels of oil, in the Levant Basin will be the trigger for renewed war.
But the bottom line is the infrastructure Israel is building, including offshore platforms and export terminals, is vulnerable to attack by Hezbollah, and even Syria and Iran.
If Beirut’s drive to get in on the regional energy boom does actually get under way, and that’s a big “if” since the threat of conflict could scare off potential investors, Lebanon will find itself in the same boat.
In theory, that could create a version of the Cold War concept of mutually assured destruction between the United States and the Soviet Union that prevented an atomic Armageddon from 1949-99.
It could, optimists argue, push the adversaries toward some sort of peace agreement.
But after more than 60 years of incessant warfare no one’s holding their breath.
Israel hit pay dirt in 2009-10, when Houston company Nobel Energy and its Israeli partner, Delek Drilling, found gas reserves totaling some 25 tcf — and that figure could increase as the full extent of the finds becomes known.
The main fields are Leviathan, with some 16 tcf of gas and believed to extend northward into Cypriot waters already dubbed the Aphrodite field, and Tamar with 8 tcf.
The prize is immense. The U.S. Geological Survey reported in 2010 that the Levant Basin, contains as much as 123 billion tcf of recoverable gas, the equivalent of 20 billion barrels of oil.
Moving into Cypriot waters takes the thorny issue into the embrace of yet another conflict, the age-old friction between Greece and Turkey and the frontline of that dispute, the divided island of Cyprus which has no energy resources of its own.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 following a short-lived, Athens-engineered coup by supporters of union with Greece. The Turks seized the north and declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It’s recognized only by Ankara. The Greek Cypriot administration in the south is universally recognized.
The Turks, led by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claims Nicosia has no right to explore for gas because the Cyprus issue has not been settled.
Add to this that Israel and Turkey, once strong allies, fell out in 2010 and are now bitter rivals, and the animosity just gets worse.
The Greek Cypriots are increasingly aligned with Israel under a plan to jointly export their gas by pipeline to the energy-hungry European Union via Greece, thus sharpening tensions with Turkey.
Nobel Energy, which spearheads exploration off Cyprus as well, has already reported initial indications of at least 7 tcf of gas in Aphrodite.
That’s sure to stir things up.
Are abundant natural resources a blessing, or a curse? This is the sort of question that economic theorists love to play with, usually concluding that, depending on other factors, they can be either or both. Israel, thus far burdened with a crippling dependency on imported oil and gas, has had astonishing success in developing its human resources—so much so that it has flourished economically even in the current global recession. Would it have done even better with adequate sources of domestic energy? Or worse? A formerly theoretical dilemma is poised to become a pressingly practical one.
Trillions of cubic feet of natural gas have been discovered in several titanic fields off Israel’s coastline. They promise both an abundance of domestic energy, as much as 200 years’ worth by some estimates, and the possibility of the country’s becoming a major energy exporter. The total value of the gas is currently worth close to a half-trillion dollars. On the macro level, and from the point of view of ensuring the country’s national security, the prospective boon is almost unimaginably beneficial. The question, as always, is what is entailed in realizing it, and how to mitigate any attendant social and political costs.
Begin with the issue of where to locate a gas terminal. Israel’s coastline is 170 miles long, the site of several cities and numerous competing uses, including ports, water-desalinization and sewage-treatment plants, military operations, and recreation. Thanks in part to ecological changes in the Nile delta (themselves the long-term effects of the Aswan high dam built in the early 1960s), the coastline is also being eroded and becoming more vulnerable to storm damage. Millions of Israelis, Jews and Arabs, vie for access to the few parks and undeveloped beaches on the seafront.
One pressing issue is strategic. Gas-receiving terminals include the infrastructure to process raw natural gas and remove contaminants, as well as storage tanks and links to distribution systems. They may also include facilities to create liquefied gas for transportation and storage by radically reducing its volume. Such facilities have the explosive potential of small nuclear weapons. In Israel’s case, any such facility will also automatically become a major target for adversaries ranging from Hamas to Iran. Already the single pipeline carrying natural gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan has been repeatedly attacked since the fall of the Mubarak regime, and the electrical-power stations at the two coastal towns of Hadera and Ashkelon have been targeted by, respectively, Hizballah and Hamas rockets.
If the strategic implications of locating a gas terminal are significant, the domestic aspects are almost equally problematic. One plan would have placed the terminal at Dor, just south of the Hadera power station, effectively cutting through a beachfront kibbutz, nature reserve, and major archaeological site. Another proposal would expand the existing gas terminal at Ashdod, which serves a smaller offshore field. In both cases, those affected would be among the less powerful sectors of Israeli society, kibbutzniks and residents of outlying cities. (For both strategic and domestic reasons, there is no chance the terminal will be located anywhere near north Tel Aviv or its affluent suburbs.) And in both cases the sites have already been targeted by rockets.
More recently a proposal has emerged to locate a floating liquefied natural-gas terminal a few miles off the shore of Hadera, in what would amount to a giant ship that could temporarily move out of range of missile and other security threats. Australia is building a similar facility 120 miles off its western coastline, at a cost of $10 billion. In Israel, the state will of course remain responsible for its citizens’ security, but the size of the price tag inevitably raises the vexing question of who will pay for the infrastructure, and who will enjoy the proceeds.
The Israeli and American companies that have invested hundreds of millions for exploration stand to reap a windfall of billions. In January, the Israeli cabinet overwhelmingly approved taxing oil and gas profits at between 50 and 62 percent, effectively doubling the tax rate under which exploration had been launched. The new rates are in line with those in most Western countries, but the change prompted a complaint from the U.S. State Department about the deleterious retroactive effect on American investors. For their part, some Knesset members have been railing angrily about “greedy tycoons.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised that the state’s share will be allocated toward education and security, but these debates can only become more heated, and more polarized, as time goes on.
No less fraught are the regional and international implications. Israel’s gas discoveries have prompted negotiations with Cyprus regarding the delineation of the two countries’ maritime borders and exclusion zones. Some entrepreneurs are talking about an undersea pipeline heading toward Europe. And, as has been well reported, there have been threats from Lebanon, which has already accused Israel of stealing “its” offshore natural gas.
Just south of the national park at the imposing ruins of Roman and Byzantine Caesarea, including the remains of the ancient aqueducts that supplied much-needed fresh water, and of the modern town of Caesarea that is home to some of Israel’s elite citizens, lies the Hadera power station. Its smokestacks dominate the horizon; a jetty protrudes offshore to carry coal from cargo ships.
The view from Caesarea beach thus already offers a juxtaposition of old—very old—with new infrastructure, as well as of the conflicts and divides that characterize Israeli society internally and its relations with its neighbors without. One can only hope that, with agility and political wisdom, the Jewish state will successfully navigate its course between the blessing and the curse of immense amounts of fuel, and the forms of power that come with it.
Alex Joffe is a research scholar with the Institute for Jewish and Community Research.
Canadian exploration company, Adira Energy has found signs of natural gas in their test wells in Northern Israel’s Hula Valley. Adira’s drilling team has reworked three existing wells on its 31,060 acre Eiten license, all of which test positive for gas presence. According to company information, one coal-bed methane (“CBM”) well tested 200 mcfd (million cubic feet per day/about US$800 per day at current market prices) with a static pressure of 600 PSI.
Adira’s Hula Valley gas wells are relatively shallow, reaching ‘coal-bed methane’ between 400 and 800 meters (1,300 – 2,600 feet).
Adira Energy also owns the Hula Valley onshore Notera license (18,500 acres and the Israeli offshore licenses Gabriella, Yitzhak and Samuel (145,000 acres collectively).
Since its massive natural gas discovery in the Leviathan field offshore of Israel, Noble Energy has suspected that commercial oil reserves may lie beneath the gas find. Plans to begin oil drilling in Leviathan’s two lowest strata have been delayed for a month due to technical concerns.
In a March 11 interview with Israeli news agency Haaretz, Epsilon Investment House energy analyst Ron Alkon stated, “A month’s postponement of the results isn’t, in itself, a sign that there is no oil. Since it is almost without precedent to be drilling for oil at these depths, and to avoid environmental problems and other possible malfunctions, they are taking their time to be prudent. It shows that there is still a considerable chance of finding oil. Just the fact that they intend to invest an additional $40 million in advance shows that the possibility is there.”
The Haaretz article continues:
“Drilling from the Sedco Express platform at Leviathan 1 has reached a depth of 5,100 meters – to the first layer of sand where advanced geological testing was performed in discovering natural gas.
“The next stage is drilling 700 meters further, to the layer geologically referred to as the Lower Oligocene Age, where Noble estimates an average economic potential for usable oil reserves of about 3 billion barrels at a geological probability of 17%.
“After this stage the partners intend to drill deeper still to test another prospect at a depth of 7,200 meters. Here Noble estimated the economic potential at equivalent to 1.2 billion barrels of oil, but at a mere 8% probability.”
Noble’s oil exploration drilling into these strata is expected to commence in early May.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ – David Wurmser, Ph.D., founder and executive member of the Delphi Global Analysis Group, LLC (Delphi), today issued the following statement regarding confimation of the Leviathan field offshore Israel as a major natural gas discovery with 16 Tcf of reserves. Delphi specializes in geopolitical risk analysis and mitigation, with a focus on energy development in Israel and throughout the Levant Basin.
“The Leviathan discovery opens a new era of natural gas development offshore Israel. Production of so large a quantity of gas relative to Israel will trigger major political changes. A resource of this magnitude will allow Israel to implement an energy policy that advances security, economic growth, and the environment. From power generation to desalination to transportation, the benefits of significant Israeli natural gas production promise to be profound,” said Dr. Wurmser.
“Israel is now positioned to become an exporter of natural gas. If encouraged by effective public policy, the fiscal, macroeconomic, and geo-strategic implications of developing offshore natural gas promise to rank among the most important advances in the history of the modern State of Israel.
“Accompanying a myriad of positive outcomes attached to Leviathan will be a series of serious political challenges. The temptation of excessive taxation and the internal battles over allocation of government revenue will intensify. Israel lacks energy-sector expertise and financing for large energy projects. Government officials have expressed concerns about concentrations of wealth and power in the hands of a few, as well as the impact of a stronger shekel on Israel’s export-driven economy. Policy makers, energy companies, and the financial community confront a complex and volatile political landscape,” concluded Dr. Wurmser.
Will Israel become a major exporter of natural gas in the near future? Most likely. How about an oil exporter? Maybe. Is there any chance of Israel joining OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries)? With Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Venezuela on the membership committee, probably not.
But the reality is that Israel has already made the largest natural gas discovery – ever – in the Mediterranean and the largest discovery worldwide in 2009. Of course those figures were based on the initial Tamar gas field reserve estimates of 5 trillion (that’s ‘trillion’) cubic feet. Since then the Tamar estimates have jumped to 8.7 trillion cubic feet. But wait, there’s more! The Leviathan field, discovered after Tamar, is estimated to hold an astonishing 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The piece of news offshore operator Noble Energy isn’t ready to make too public yet is that they believe that underneath the natural gas fields, there could be oil. That’s the story offshore.
Onshore, Givot Olam claims the field below their Meged #5 well may hold 1.5 billion barrels of oil (we’ll find out how real that estimate is next month). By the way, the Meged #5 has been pumping oil in the midst of the latest arguments over how big the field may or may not be. Zion Oil & Gas, just yesterday, spudded (began drilling) their Ma’anit-Joseph #3 well. This is Zion’s third attempt to discover commercial quantities of oil in the Ma’anit structure. The first two wells were frustratingly close; they actually extracted oil from the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 test well. Zion isn’t going into the Ma’anit-Joseph #3 blind; based on results from the first two wells and their best science, this well will be at the location and depth they need to be to hit commercial oil.
Bottom Line: Israel is not waiting for a major hydrocarbon discovery – it’s already happened – the largest natural gas discovery worldwide in 2009 (of course that was when they believed they only had 5 trillion cubic feet in the Tamar field and before the Leviathan discovery). The Tamar field is 90 kilometers (56 miles) offshore and Leviathan is 130 kilometers (81 miles) out to sea. Producing the offshore gas (bringing to market by building pipelines to onshore facilities) will take a few years (up to five). But it will happen. It’s a pretty good bet that all of Israel’s domestic natural gas needs (that includes electricity) will be fully supplied and that more than a few European and the Japanese households (at least) will be heating their morning tea with Israeli natural gas in the next decade. Up until 2009 nobody imagined that Israel could supply her own needs, let alone become a world exporter of natural gas. In 2019 it will be a major Israeli export.
Is oil far behind? I don’t think so. If oil and gas is discovered onshore in the near future, it will most likely beat the offshore gas to market. If a lot of oil is discovered – beyond Israel’s domestic needs – oil is much easier (and quicker) to export than natural gas.
Little old Israel, a major energy exporter – imagine that! Of course Israel has accomplished a lot of things in the last sixty-plus years the world never imagined. That may be because the world doesn’t know it’s Bible as well as it should. About 2,700 years ago Israel (the northern kingdom) was decimated by her enemies (ancestors of some of the same enemies Israel has today) and many in Israel were taken as captives back to conquering Assyria. Later the Babylonians conquered Assyria, but Israel remained captives in exile, away from their home land. In this dark time an Israeli living in exile, his name was Yechezk’el, saw a vision of his people’s future. He saw dry bones coming together to form a nation of people, he saw a wasteland spring to life and become a garden. Yechezk’el’s (we westerners use the name Ezekiel) vision of dry bones became reality on May 14, 1948 when Israel, after 1,900 years of exile, became a nation. In 1948, the Land of Israel wasn’t too different from the ‘wasteland’ Ezekiel saw in his vision. Today the ‘wasteland’ has become a garden. In Ezekiel’s vision G-d made a promise to the Land of Israel: “I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more before.” (Ezekiel 36:11)
A nation of people from dry bones … wasteland springing into gardens … a nation in exile for 1,900 years returning to its homeland and prospering today more than in any time in history … imagine that!
Back in April I wrote that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released a report that the Levant Basin contains 1.689 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 122.4 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas. The Levant Basin lies both onshore and offshore and includes most of middle and northern Israel and coastal Lebanon and Syria. The basin includes the exploration areas of Noble Energy offshore and Zion Oil & Gas onshore.
Most of the data the USGS report contained came from research conducted between 2000 and 2008 by Dr. Michael Gardosh, a researcher at the Geophysical Institute of Israel, and Dr. Yehezkel Druckman, who until a few years ago was Petroleum Israel’s Commissioner. Dr. Druckman now serves on the Zion Oil & Gas Board of Directors.
So in today’s dollars, how much oil and gas does the USGS say the Levant Basin holds in undiscovered resources? A friend ran the numbers for me:
|Levant Basin Dollar Values|
|122 Trillion Cubic Feet Natural Gas||122,000,000,000,000|
|Price per 1000 Cubic Feet (6/22)||$4.79|
|Convert Trillion Cubic Ft||122,000,000,000|
|Total $ Value – Natural Gas||$584,380,000,000.00|
|1.7 Billion Barrels of Oil||1,700,000,000|
|Price per Barrel Oil (6/22)||$77.87|
|Total $ Value – Oil||$132,379,000,000.00|
|TOTAL VALUE – LEVANT BASIN||$716,759,000,000.00|
That’s nearly $718 Billion. Most of the Levant Basin lies within the land and territorial water of Israel. Offshore, some of the ‘undiscovered’ the natural gas has been discovered and will be powering Israel in the next few years. Onshore, the ‘undiscovered’ oil, I believe, will be discovered soon.
Israeli Natural Gas Find Keeps On Getting Bigger But Could Ignite Trouble
Vosizneias Tel Aviv – Israel’s natural gas bonanza in the eastern Mediterranean just keep getting bigger, with reserves currently pegged at around 25 trillion cubic feet.
That’s enough to guarantee the Jewish state, dependent on imported energy since it was founded in 1948, energy security for at least two decades.
The strikes at three fields, dubbed Tamar, Dalat and Leviathan, could even turn Israel into a gas exporter and transform its economy. There are indications that there’s oil down there as well.
But the offshore finds may become a casus belli (case for war) as Lebanon, Israel’s northern neighbor and longtime battleground, lays claim to the gas fields as well.
Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper reported June 8 that the biggest field found off Israel, Leviathan, extends north into Lebanese waters and could well aggravate tensions between the countries.
Under the headline “Israel prepares to steal gas fields in Lebanon’s waters,” the leftist daily said if Israel tried to siphon gas from Lebanese territory, Beirut would be forced to defend its resources.
One of Hezbollah’s top leaders, Hashem Safieddine, head of the Iranian-backed movement’s executive council, has declared it won’t allow Israel to “loot” Lebanese gas resources.
Israel’s military chiefs say Hezbollah currently possesses around 45,000 missiles and rockets, which could be fired at Israel’s emerging energy infrastructure centered on the port of Haifa.
The city was repeatedly hit by Hezbollah rockets during the 34-day war with Israel in July and August 2006.
These days, Hezbollah purportedly has long-range weapons that have greater accuracy and carry more destructive warheads than those used in 2006. These are capable of hitting just about anywhere in Israel.
In the event of renewed hostilities, and both sides are talking tough again, Israel’s energy installations would be prime targets.
Lebanon’s parliament speaker, Hezbollah ally Nabih Berri, has urged the Beirut government to move swiftly to start its own offshore exploration or risk Israel claiming whatever resources there are.
“Israel is racing to make the case a fait accompli and was quick to present itself as an oil emirate, ignoring the fact that, according to the maps, the deposits extend into Lebanese waters,” said Berri.
The speaker, who has submitted a parliamentary bill to launch exploration of Lebanon’s potential offshore reserves, declared: “Lebanon must take immediate action to defend its financial, political, economic and sovereign rights.”
Israeli officials insist that the gas fields lie within Israeli territorial waters.
However, the liberal Haaretz daily noted Tuesday, “Israel has yet to declare its exclusive economic zone, though this usually applies to what in the sea, such as fish, and not what lies under the continental shelf.”
It quoted Professor Moshe Hirsch of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, an expert in international law, as saying that problem could arise when the continental shelf is shared by more than one country.
But he maintained the gas lies squarely in Israel’s sector of the continental shelf and so there was no need top declare an exclusive economic zone.
The first strikes were made early this year at the Dalit field off Hadera, south of Haifa by a consortium headed by Noble Energy, a U.S. company with headquarters in Houston, which is working with three Israeli firms.
Tamar, 50 miles east of Haifa, was found in April. Last week Nobel raised its original estimate of the field’s size by 33 percent to 8.4 trillion cubic feet of gas.
But then came the discovery of Leviathan, double the size of Tamar at an estimated 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, further off the coast.
Nobel said that total offshore reserves could top 30 trillion cubic feet, double Britain’s giant gas fields in the North Sea, with a conservative value of some $300 billion. Nobel is moving a drilling platform from the Gulf of Mexico to step up exploration.
Gas production is to begin in 2012. Israel is planning to build a liquefied natural gas plant near Haifa but it probably won’t go online until 2015.
The gas finds, particularly Leviathan, which may turn out to be even bigger, are “nothing short of a geopolitical gamechanger,” Gal Luft, executive director of the U.S.-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, wrote in Haaretz Sunday.
“Altogether the basin the eastern Mediterranean … could contain an amount of gas equivalent to one-fifth of U.S. natural gas reserves.”