Noble Energy, senior partner in the Leviathan gas drill, estimated Sunday that the oil reserves located under the site's gas reserves may fill up to three billion barrels. The reservoir is located under a deep layer of rock, and it is unclear whether it can be fully depleted.
According to Noble Energy's assessments, preliminary tests ahead of drilling will begin in October, at the cost of $150 million, and during the drilling the rig may be replaced with one with more powerful drilling capabilities.
The Leviathan gas reserves, located some 120 kilometers west of Israel, are believed to contain over 453 BMC (billion cubic meters) with that probability of extracting gas from the site at 50%.
Partners in the drilling are Delek Group (45.34%), via the companies Avner Oil Exploration and Delek Drilling, Ratzio Yam (15%) and the remainder is controlled by Noble Energy.
The new finding follows a preliminary report by Givot Olam Oil earlier this month, which estimated that some 1.5 billion barrels of oil may be found at the Megged 5 oil reserve near Rosh Ha'Ayin. The final report, which will determine whether energy can be produced from the oil, will be submitted on September 5.
The total oil reserve 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.
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