Noble, which has headquarters in Houston, said it encountered more than 450 net feet of natural gas pay while drilling an appraisal well in the field. The company said that's the thickest net pay to date for wells drilled in the play.
"The successful Leviathan No. 4 well has provided us with additional information to improve our knowledge of this enormous resource," Noble Chairman Charles Davidson said in a statement. "Our teams are working with our partners and the Israeli government toward sanction of a domestic project at Leviathan this year."
The company said the results of the appraisal well led it to estimate there was a recoverable gross mean of 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Leviathan.
Noble added that negotiations with Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum for 30 percent stake in Leviathan were ongoing.
Noble Energy expects initial production for the Israeli market by 2016.