Huge natural gas reserve found in Israel

Dec. 29, 2010 at 5:00 PM
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HAIFA, Israel, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. company Noble Energy Inc. said Wednesday it had discovered a natural gas reserve worth $95 billion off shore in Israeli territorial waters.

Haaretz reported the gas reserve is shared by Noble, which owns 39.6 percent of its holdings, Delek Group Ltd. firms Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling LP, each of which owns 22.6 percent. And Ratio Oil Exploration LP, which owns 15 percent.

The reserve, the company said, contains 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The reserve, called Leviathan, is located under 5,400 feet of water, 60 miles offshore, west of Haifa, the Tel Aviv newspaper said.

"Leviathan is the latest major discover for Noble … and is easily the largest exploration discover in our history," Noble Chief Executive Officer Charles Davidson said.

Delek Group Chief Executive Officer Yoram Turbowitz said the discovery is daunting.

"It is a sense of success mixed with worry and concern, that we will not be able to utilize the huge discovery in our hands to its limits," he said.

Noble Energy President and Chief Operating Officer David Stover said the discovery could transform Israel into a natural gas exporter.

"It's our belief that the natural gas resources at Leviathan are sufficient to support one or more of the options," which include pipeline exportation, he said, adding, "We are excited to be leading the exploration and development in this new basin and look forward to determining the best development option."

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