Huge gas reserves discovered off Haifa
Jan. 18, 2009
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
Three massive gas reservoirs have been discovered 80 kilometers off the Haifa coast, at the Tamar prospect, Noble Energy Inc. announced on Sunday.
The Tamar-1 well, located in approximately 5,500 feet of water, was drilled to a total depth of 16,076 feet. The thickness and quality of the reservoirs found were greater than anticipated at the location.
Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's chairman, president and CEO, said in an announcement that his company was "extremely excited by the results. This is one of the most significant prospects that we have ever tested and appears to be the largest discovery in the company's history."
Speaking on Army Radio Sunday morning, an exhilarated Yitzhak Tshuva, owner of the Delek Group Ltd, one of the owners of the well, called the discovery "one of the biggest in the world," promising that the find would present a historic land mark in the economic independence of Israel.
"I have no doubt that this is a holiday for the State of Israel. We will no longer be dependent [on foreign sources] for our gas, and will even export. We are dealing with inconceivably huge quantities; Israel now has a solution for the future generations," Tshuva added.
An ecstatic Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said before the weekly cabinet meeting that the discovery was a "historic" one and could "change the face of Israeli industry."
In a statement released following the discovery, the Meimad-Green Movement party also praised the "historic discovery," and called to put plans to erect the coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon on hold.
"Until now, the central argument in favor of building the coal plant was that strategically, we cannot depend on clean natural gas, since its reservoirs are located in hostile countries," said Meimad chairman Rabbi Michael Melchior in the statement.
"Now, with the discovery of the huge reservoirs, the plans to construct the coal plant should be shelved, as it will cause severe health damage to the region's residents," said Melchior.
"Instead, we should build a plant powered by natural gas instead, Israeli and [environmentally friendly], which will have minimal health repercussions and aid Israel's economy," he added.
Production testing at Tamar will be performed after the well is completed. Noble Energy and its partners may keep the rig to drill up to two additional wells in the basin. Pending positive test results, one well could be an appraisal at Tamar.
Noble Energy operates the well with a 36 percent working interest. Other interest owners in the well are Israeli companies Isramco Negev 2, Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Dor Gas Exploration.
Following the announcement of the discover, shares of Delek Drilling jumped up 80%, while shares of Isramco Negev 2 skyrocketed by an unprecedented 120 percent. The rest of the Tel Aviv stock market also saw huge gains, with the TA-Index 100 climbing nearly 4 percent.