Zion Oil & Gas reports in their weekly update that they have finished Triassic logging operations and have resumed drilling at the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 to a finished depth of 18,000 feet; well into the Permian.
A couple of questions keep coming up:
1. Why did they stop at the Triassic and what do they expect to find there?
2. Why is the Permian so important?
I’ll try to answer those questions from an amateur’s perspective.
Q: Why did they stop at the Triassic and what do they expect to find there?
A: Because of their experience and data from the Ma’anit #1 well, drilled in 2005, they have a pretty good idea of what they’ll find in the Triassic this time. The Ma’anit #1 yielded hydrocarbon shows from 12,000 to 15,500 feet (the bottom of the hole). At 15,128 feet they encountered heavy salt water with oil on top. At 14, 245 – 14, 593 feet they encountered hydrocarbons again (and water again). Finally, at just under 14,000 feet Zion encountered natural gas and were able to maintain a six to ten foot gas flair at the well head. When they shut the well down for evaluation, water infiltrated the hole again and they elected to give up on developing the Ma’anit #1. Translation – Zion knows they’ve got gas, or gas and oil between 12,000 and 15,500 feet because they’ve seen it. With better equipment and fore-knowledge of what to expect, they had a lot of confidence in what they would find in the Triassic strata this time. Wire logging in the Triassic is finished, they’ve seen the initial data, but news of what the Triassic holds won’t go public until the data is confirmed.
Q: Why is the Permian so important?
A: Zion Oil’s research in 2007 confirmed that northern Israel sits on top of a formation called the ‘Permian Arqov’ and that this formation is of the “same age and depositional environment” as the ‘Permian Khuff’ formation in the Persian Gulf that holds 25% of the world’s known natural gas reserves. Noble Energy’s massive natural gas discovery off the Haifa coast certainly supports the idea that there’s a lot of natural gas in Israel. If Zion taps into an enormous field of natural gas, along with Noble’s off-shore discovery, Israel may become one of the world’s significant energy exporters. The Permian also holds most of the world’s oil reserves. If Zion discovers a lot of oil, it will most likely be found in the Permian.
Zion’s CEO Richard Rinberg isn’t saying much of anything about initial test results from the Triassic or of what Zion hopes to find in the Permian, and rightly so; he’s the guardian of a public company. Anything he says, positive or negative, has an effect on the company’s value and the shareholders’ investment and trust. He’ll make darned sure that what he announces, when he announces it is fact; in his position there’s no room for conjecture.
I’m not an employee of Zion Oil and this newsletter and the oilinisrael.net website is completely independent of Zion Oil or any other exploration company in Israel, but outside of Zion’s managers and few Israeli oil professionals and government officials, it’s fair to say that I know more about the history of Israel’s search for oil, biblical or otherwise, than any other ‘outside’ observer. So until we hear official news of what the Ma’anit-Rehoboth #2 holds for Zion Oil, I’ll keep telling you what I know.