Zion Oil Begins Drilling Elijah #3

October 29, 2009 by  

According to Zion CEO Richard Rinberg’s ‘Zion Oil & Gas Newsletter’, Zion Oil began drilling the Elijah #3 well last week and by last Friday’s report, drilling depth on the Elijah #3 had reached 400 feet.

coo-report-2009-1 27The Elijah #3 well site is located on northern Israel’s coastal plain near Mount Carmel, between Caesarea and Haifa, in Zion’s ‘Asher/Menashe” license area. Zion Oil’s Elijah #3 isn’t the first oil well to be drilled in this area and Zion Oil isn’t the first company to come to this region, known in the Bible as the ‘foot of Asher’, seeking the fulfillment of an ancient Bible prophecy. And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.‘” (Deuteronomy 33:24)

Wesley Hancock

In 1961, Bible believing Californian, Wesley Hancock was awarded an exploration license area of 97,000 acres including Mount Carmel and extended into parts of the Jezreel Valley, known as the “Valley of Megiddo,” site of the prophesied last days battle of Armageddon. Armed with a report forecasting Israel’s oil potential, and his Asher passage in Deuteronomy 33, Wesley went looking for Asher’s oil. On September 19, 1963 Wesley spudded the Asher #1, north and east of Mount Carmel near Haifa. Asher #1 had reached a depth of 7,800 feet when the drill head twisted off, taking seven drill collars with it. After the twist-off, chances of drilling any deeper were nil. By January of 1964, testing in the hole above 7,800 feet revealed that the Asher #1 was dry. In 1965 Wesley commissioned a hydrocarbon survey of his license area. This was the first petroleum survey of its kind in Northern Israel. The survey results led to choosing his location for the Asher #2 well. Hancock drilled the Asher #2 to a depth of 4,300 feet and core samples showed traces of oil. The Asher #2, however, was shut down; Hancock, without any other investors, had run out of money and was unable to continue drilling.

Gilman Hill

In 1979 Gilman Hill, an American evangelical Christian, came to Israel looking for Asher’s oil. According to Hill, God directed him to drill for oil and showed him the well’s location during a 1978 tour of Mount Carmel. Gill had completed preliminary geological surveys and fulfilled permit requirements to begin drilling by 1980.
Hill’s well, Elijah #1, was planned to be drilled to the upper Triassic strata, a depth of 15,000 to 16,000 feet. At 8,900 feet Gilman halted the drilling. According to Hill, God gave him the message, “circumstances have changed,” Gil was convinced that he was to cease drilling until further notice from God. Gil continued his geologic research for another six years waiting for a Divine release to resume drilling. The release never came. After spending $6 million of his own money on Mount Carmel, drawn by the Bible’s promise that Asher would “dip his foot in oil,” Gilman Hill had failed to find the elusive flow.

Andy SoRelle

atlit Castle

Crusader Castle at Atlit

About the same time Hill started drilling Elijah #1, a Texas oil man named Andy SoRelle was busy preparing to drill the Atlit #1 well near Haifa, known as the Asher Project. SoRelle’s well was spudded in February 1981, the same year Jim Spillman’s book, The Great Treasure Hunt,  was released. Spillman and SoRelle were mutual supporters, each understandably interested in the work of the other. Throughout the Asher Project  SoRell updated Spillman on the progress of the well they both believed would strike the oil God had promised.
At 9,400 feet the drill bit hit volcanic rock.  They drilled down through another 7600 feet before finally coming into limestone again. The drill bit, now at 17,296 feet was way beyond the rig’s capacity. Fearing he would lose the hole, Atlit’s drilling supervisor shut down the operation until a larger rig could be brought in.
December 28, 1982 a new drill rig, rated at 26,000 feet was installed over the original hole. This new phase, dubbed the Atlit #II was planned to bring the well as deep as 23,000 feet. By February of 1983 the well had been cleaned out and depth had been increased to 18,000 feet.
Drilling continued without incident until, at 20,570 feet Atlit II struck oil! What oil experts call “very good shows” came to the surface; graded as light oil at 35 to 40 degrees API. SoRelle continued to a final depth of 21,431 feet. The zone of oil bearing rock, was estimated at 470 feet, from 20,570 to 21,309 feet. Two years after spudding, the drilling phase of the Atlit well was finally complete!
During development problems emerged again. Financing for the project had been on a shoe-string at best. The crew had stopped casing the well at 13,772 feet.  Not having funds for additional casing and reasoning that the volcanic rock they had struggled through was stable enough to hold the hole open the crew had continued drilling in “open hole.”

As the crew was cleaning the hole in preparation for the production casing, drill collars stuck at 18,669 ft and two weeks of jarring would not break them loose. Special equipment was flown to retrieve the string (130 ft. in length) and, while cleaning the hole to “fish” with the new equipment they stuck again at the 17,772 ft mark. After ten more days of trying to break loose, they came out leaving another 8 ½ foot fish in the hole.

August 24, 1983, more than two and a half years after spudding, Andy SoRelle called it quits for the Atlit hole.  Having spent more than $25 million, his own money and that of his investors, Andy gave up on the Atlit well.

The history of the search for Asher’s oil doesn’t seem very promising. But if God said of Asher, ‘… let him dip his foot in oil …’ then I’m convinced He’ll keep His promise in His own time. One thing I do know; the oil is down there. Hancock saw it and SoRelle saw it. That Asher’s oil exists is a fact, when it will be brought to the surface is the only question.

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7 Responses to “Zion Oil Begins Drilling Elijah #3”

  1. bob woodland on October 29th, 2009 5:05 pm

    In Zion Oil’s plan to drill Elijah #3 they stated in their last update “Zion then plans to continue drilling to the Permian geological formation, down to a total depth below 17,000 feet (5,182 meters).”

    Do you think this will be deep enough considering that Andy SoRelle discovered oil between 20,570′ and 21,431′ at the Atlit #1 well ?

    Do you think that Zion Oil has seismic data that the permian holding the oil is closer to the sufaceat the Elijah #3 site than where Atlit #1 was drilled? How far is the Atlit #1 well site from Zion’s Elijah #3 well site?

  2. geoffrey mckee on October 29th, 2009 9:03 pm

    The map that accompanied your June 22 story ” Zion Oil Awarded Issachar-Zebulun Permit” is interesting. I was not aware of the quantity of reported reserves discovered by the Tamar #1 well. 5 trillion standard cubic feet is a lot of gas for Israel’s future domestic consumption. It is noted that the Gaza Marine gas discovery by BG Group – reported to contain 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas – was not marked on the map. Does anyone on this discussion list know what is the sovereignty status of this field (Gaza Marine)? Is it in Israel’s sovereign territory? There is talk on internet blogs about fishermen from Gaza being prevented by Isreali gunboats from encroaching more than 6 kilometers offshore from their home in Gaza. Can this be true? If so, are these attacks in some way related to a sovereignty issue relating to the Gaza Marine gas discovery? Does God have any opinion through prophesy as to who shall benefit from this natural bounty that exists in the Gaza Marine discovery? Failing a direct line to God to provide the answer, the next best human recourse is the ICJ (UNCLOS) .

  3. admin on October 30th, 2009 3:26 am

    I don’t know how much, if any, siesmic acquisition, was complete in the area before the Atlit #1 site was chosen by SoRelle. Israel conducted a major basin study in 1986 (after Atlit #1) and many, many siesmic lines have been run since then. Zion Oil definitely had the tools available for great geologic insight than SoRelle did. Old geological strata may move up (horst) or down (graben) at fault lines. These moves may put the target area closer or further away from the surface. Having an idea of what’s down there before picking a drilling location certainly helps; that’s the benefit of siesmic acquisition.
    Zion’s Elijah #3 isn’t far from the old Atlit #1 site: my best guess, around 5 kilometers (3 miles). Atlit #1 was right on the coast. The Elijah #3 is inland, off Route 4.

  4. admin on October 30th, 2009 4:05 am

    The subject is a political hot potato. If the gas field is inside Gaza’s economic area why don’t they control its output? The big question would be who is there to control anything in Gaza? The P.A.? Hamas? Whoever seems to be in control in Gaza is either incapable of stopping attacks on Israel or responsible for the attacks. Until some kind of stable, peaceful government comes to Gaza this issue probably isn’t going to be resolved. It would be a wonderful blessing for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and for those who own the rights to this gas field to peacefully profit from it. I’m afraid we’re not there yet.
    All that said, Gaza’s gas isn’t the focus of this website and I won’t allow us to get off topic by protracted (and intractable) political discussion.

  5. Reg Richardson on October 30th, 2009 10:03 am

    Andy said that, based on a misinterpretation of the old map of Asher’s land, he had moved his original rig from one location to a second location, presumably the Atlit # 1 site. He also stated that his discovery of oil was the richest strike he had ever made and that he believed the oil-bearing stratum to be continuous with that in Iraq. But we know the rest of the story regarding the troubles with his rig.
    Now, the question posed by Bob Woodland: Will the Elijah # 3 well be deep enough?
    And another: Does Zion Oil have the capital necessary to overcome such obstacles as encountered by pioneer drillers in the region? If not, will the company pursue additional sources of money? Based on the company’s potential to issue additional shares, the upward trend of crude prices, and the apparent interest by the Israeli factions, we could say, “Yes.”
    As a disclaimer, I do not own, nor have ever owned, any stock or other assets in Zion Oil or any entity associated with that company. But I have watched it for about a year now, and if I think the time is right, I will purchase some of its stock.

  6. Salamon69 on November 14th, 2009 10:02 am


    That said. I am really fascinated by the story of Andy SoRelle and the drilling of the Atlit #1. Interesting is well is his personal story and how during World War II his plane had so major problems in flight, but miraculously he made it thru a cloud of fog and landed the plane.

    Interesting how what i understand he spudded the well and discovered the oil in February of 1981. The say year that Jim Spillman wrote the book that caught the attention of John Brown and began his quest for finding the oil. The same year that I think also that John Brown gave his life the Jesus Christ. Almost like the baton was being passed from Andy SoRelle to John Brown so that the oil would come forth at the proper time.

    Interesting how Andy SoRelle had such an interesting story. John Brown has an interesting story as well. Also, I heard Richard Rinberg in an interview and he even recounts how at one point in his life he nearly died in the hospital but feels that God gave him back his life because he had a purpose to carry out.

    God’s hand is definitely behind the search for oil. Interesting how it all weaves together. We live at an exciting time to see the scriptures written thousands of years ago coming close to be fulfilled. (:

  7. ROBERT J. BLAKE on November 23rd, 2009 2:43 pm


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