Megged 5 drilling site
Photo: Assi Cohen
1.5 billion barrels of oil discovered near Rosh Ha'Ayin
Israeli public must wait until September to see if country is sitting on profitable oil reserve, but statement to TASE gives peek into extent of Megged reserve. Question remains: How much of it is recoverable?

Could the State of Israel be sitting on an oil reserve that can provide energy, cash flow, and international political influence? This is the question that everyone is waiting to be answered in the engineering report ordered by Givot Olam Oil, overseeing the drilling at the Megged 5 site, next to Rosh Ha'Ayin.


The final report will be submitted on September 5. However, a preliminary report was already issued to Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on the oil reserves on the site. "The amount of oil in place in Rosh Ha'Ayin plot is estimated at 1.525 billion barrels of oil." In previous reports, the quantity was appraised at only a few hundred barrels of oil a day.


The total oil reserves in the world (as of 2006) is 1.3 trillion barrels, but most of this is concentrated in the territory of less than 15 countries. The oil reserves located in countries not considered powerhouses in the field totals about 133 billion barrels, making the estimated amount of oil in Megged 5 quite significant. In Qatar, for instance, the oil reserves are about 15 billion barrels.


Yet it is still too early to view the report as bearing real economic (or political) tidings. The 1.5 billion barrel figure refers to the oil in place, and not to the amount of recoverable oil in the reserve. The amount of oil that can be successfully extracted will be made known only in the final report submitted in September.


According to Givot Olam's reports from May 2009, the amount of recoverable oil in the reserve is likely 10-20%.


"This is a joyful and heart-warming discovery," said Chairman of Israel Institute of Petroleum & Energy Amir Makov said to Ynet on Tuesday. "However, this discovery does not indicate the extraction capability, and the company will have to perform additional tests and drillings until we know what this means both in terms of the company's commercial potential and in terms of the national potential."


Tani Goldstein and Avital Lahav contributed to this report



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