Leviathan Oil Prospects Encouraging for Region – Geologist
An improved forecast for finding oil at the Israeli off-shore well Leviathan is good news for other companies planning to drill in the area, a geologist from one of the region’s major exploration groups said on Monday.
Texas-based Noble Energy last week provided a forecast with a 25 percent probability of geological success for finding oil in the deep layers of the Leviathan field, up from an earlier estimate of about 17 percent.
“That’s significant,” said Josh Steinberg, geologist for Israel’s Ratio Oil Exploration, one of Noble’s partners in Leviathan, who also has drilling rights in the nearby Gal field.
The Leviathan field, discovered in 2010 off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, was the largest deepwater natural gas find of the past decade, with reserves estimated at about 17 trillion cubic feet (tcf). The group is now hoping to find at least 600 million barrels of oil hidden in a layer beneath the gas.
“If the chances have improved the way that Noble believes they have, of course it directly affects the chances for success for (Ratio’s) Gal field,” Steinberg told Reuters. “It has implications on the entire Levant Basin, including other areas in Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon.”
Technical problems forced the Noble-led group to suspend drilling in May after it reached deeper than any other spot in the east Mediterranean’s Levant Basin.
After formulating a new plan and with a more powerful drill ship, drilling should start up again towards the end of 2013, Steinberg said.
Ratio is currently analysing its 3D seismic surveys of the 1,600 sq km Gal field, and Steinberg said its geological structure is similar to that of Leviathan to the north.
Drilling there should commence by the end of 2014, he said.
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