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Delek defends Leviathan gas reserve potential

Government estimates came in at about 20 percent less than drilling partners predicted.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Delek defends Leviathan gas reserve potential
Partners aiming to exploit the Leviathan gas field off the Israeli coast defend the field potential amid a government estimate lower than drillers expected. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

TEL AVIV, Israel, June 8 (UPI) -- Partners aiming to develop the Leviathan gas field off the coast of Israel said they can exploit the full potential amid questions about reserve estimates.

Delek Group and its partners steering development plans for the Leviathan gas field, considered one of the largest in the world, said they're working on a plan to develop a maximum 741.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year.

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That followed a government report that said, after a review from independent analysts, the field could support production of about 20 percent less than Delek and its partners had estimated.

In a statement, Delek said the government could update its reserve estimate for the field after reviewing data from drilling operations underway in parts of the Leviathan field.

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"It should be emphasized that in the opinion of the partners, the estimated production amount is adequate for full implementation of the development plan in the amount of 741.6 billion cubic feet per year as approved, and adequate for full implementation of the export agreements applicable to a development plan of this scope," the company said.

In a separate statement specific to media accounts of the government's expectations about Leviathan, the company stressed that "no change has occurred" in the reserve estimate for the field.

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The Israeli government gave its consent last month to revised operational plans after a previous arrangement was struck down early this year by the Israeli Supreme Court. The partners were notified in March by the court that a deal with the government was unconstitutional, a ruling consistent with past concerns about competition.

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The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the earlier decision from the court would have resulted in "severe damage" to the nation's economic potential. The government said last month's consent decision was historic.

Barring any unforeseen complications, field development is expected to get underway before the end of the decade.

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