Israel Discovers Natural Gas: Is Oil far Behind?

February 4, 2009 by  

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?

Zion CEO Richard Rinberg (left) with AME drilling team

Zion CEO Richard Rinberg (left) with AME drilling team

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.


13 Responses to “Israel Discovers Natural Gas: Is Oil far Behind?”

  1. lyle on February 5th, 2009 10:29 am

    Look at how God’s hand is on Israel. Wow,bless You o Israel you are still the apple of GOD’s eye.

  2. daniel morris on February 27th, 2009 8:56 pm


    This may sound a strange question?

    In the English translation of the letter and Blessing given to you by Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita, you use the word ‘Sela’ twice I believe. How do you interpret this word?

    I have looked at your website a number of times, but the original letter in Hebrew on yellow lined paper never appeared previously; it appeared for the first time within the last 24 hours, but 10 minutes later ‘disappeared’. Have others noted this?

    I have a periodic interest in crude oil; may you only hear Good News.

  3. admin on April 20th, 2009 6:08 am

    Rabbi Berland’s blessing and its translation can be found at Just click on the yellow paper for a close up of the Rabbi’s hand written note to John Brown.
    “Sela”, according to the Holman Bible Dictionary, is a “Term of unknown meaning.” It could be a signal to pause for silence or music or some other act of public worship. Early Jewish tradition suggest it may mean “forever.”

  4. j on May 27th, 2009 8:26 am

    The letter from Rav Berland only says sela once

  5. admin on June 8th, 2009 2:05 pm

    Hi J,
    I’m not a Hebrew reader (and the letter you’re referring to is on Zion Oil’s website) but Zion’s CEO Richard Rinberg is fluent in Hebrew and probably translated the letter himself. You can contact Zion Oil through Thanks for reading.

  6. Lucile Gaither on August 11th, 2009 8:36 pm

    When I became a christian in the ’80’s, my first Sunday School teacher said that there will come a time when all nations shall encompass Israel. She said it would be because of oil. Back then it was thought that Israel did not have any oil. Now look at the nation today. Prophecy is being fulfilled. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh…And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke Chapter 21

  7. Morgan Levy and Constance Burton on August 27th, 2009 3:11 pm

    Faith is our greatest asset when we apply it to Holy Scripture. I have complete confidence that we will all be blessed with oil revenue as God would have it. I just wish we could go faster so oil will be more available to English speaking places.

  8. Hmmm, water again is it…? « The Countdown on May 3rd, 2010 9:56 am

    […] very interesting that Israel FINDS oil almost EXACTLY on the other side of the world (here, here, here)?? Maybe we should have rethought about our alliance with Israel […]

  9. judy simpson on February 1st, 2011 12:27 pm

    I beleive that God is directing me to Zion Oil as an answer to my prayers concerning my prosperity in these last days. My financial advisor has tried in the past to discourage me in an investment in Zion Oil as being too risky so I declined. But now with the discovery of natural gas in Israel I beleive more and more that the Bible has the final word on the matter, not Edward Jones Investments. I shall pursue this investment with the Lord Jeshua who ultimately has the last word.

  10. sue chumrau on March 2nd, 2011 11:54 pm

    I was looking for an oil trade and was “lead” to Zion. I am a Christian and my heart lept with joy at finding your company.I am a technical trader, and like the fellow in the interview , i threw the technicals out of the the window. I truly believe that G-d has a hand in this and your testimonies are inspiring. I have a big heart for the Jewish people and pray without ceasing for them and you. <

  11. sspillman on March 24th, 2011 6:21 am

    Thank you Sue … keep praying.

  12. Elizabeth Hensley on January 19th, 2012 9:12 pm

    Of course oil will be where Bible says it is. Bible code proves Bible is written with inspiration from the future, Logical, scientific explanation for that & all of Christ’s Kingdom. Time-space circles due to General Relativity. Gravity of the Universe bends time and space around it. So future is the past. And WE are the Body of Christ, and all Carpenters use their bodies to build things. Heaven/New Jerusalem’s just a 1500 mile long cube! Rev. 21:16. We are using science to learn to build it. Science fulfills Faith. Because of circling time it already exists. Rev. chapter 5 says Christ is given the Book of Life because only He is worthy to open it but we can write that book ourselves. Ephesians 4:15 says in love we are to grow up in ALL WAYS into the Head, into Christ. ” Universe has a good ten to fifteen billion more yrs to let us do this growing up into God in all ways. Here is where God comes from. God is both Vine and Vinedresser so from vantage point of having been around the circle already the Father can guide His own growth as we grow up in all ways into Him. Every miracle in the Bible happened because WE eventually learned how. We created Bible code, communicate to the past where oil is, how to treat one’s Neighbor and all sorts of neat stuff. He is our specie’s future. We are His past. Hardest part of getting Jesus up and going again by white coated Scientists who met Him at His tomb was probably getting the surprised to see Him up, Mary Magdeline to let go of Him long enough to complete the process!

  13. paula owens on February 4th, 2012 8:28 am

    For Judy Simpson

    Dear Judy,

    I am interested in buying stock in Zion Oil and/or others. I’ve done the “math” and there are many “no’s” when the G-d of Abraham, Issac and Jacob tell me to perservere. I appreciate your feedback.

    I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
    Thank you.

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