Noble Energy, Inc. announced today a significant natural gas discovery at the Leviathan exploration prospect offshore Israel. Drilled in the Rachel license, the well encountered a minimum of 220 feet (67 meters) of net natural gas pay in several subsalt Miocene intervals. Apparent reservoir quality is very good, and the intervals discovered are geologically similar to those intersected at Tamar.
Leviathan-1, located in approximately 5,400 feet (1,645 meters) of water, is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) offshore of Haifa and 29 miles (47 kilometers) southwest of the Tamar discovery. The results from the well confirm the pre-drill estimated resource range, with a gross mean for Leviathan of 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic meters). The Leviathan field is estimated to cover approximately 125 square miles (325 square kilometers) and, as a result of its size, will require two or more appraisal wells to further define total gas resources.
Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy's Chairman and CEO, said: "Leviathan is the latest major discovery for Noble Energy and is easily the largest exploration discovery in our history. In the past two years, we and our partners have made three significant natural gas discoveries in the Levantine basin. Total gross mean resources discovered are estimated to be approximately 25 trillion cubic feet (700 billion cubic meters), with nearly 8.5 trillion cubic feet (240 billion cubic meters) net to Noble Energy's interest. The Leviathan discovery has further confirmed our geologic models and interpretation of this basin and validates that it contains significant natural gas resources."
David L. Stover, the Company's President and COO, added: "Our exploration program continues to deliver outstanding results. This discovery has the potential to position Israel as a natural gas exporting nation. For nearly a year now, we have had a team evaluating market possibilities, which includes various pipeline and LNG options. It's our belief that the natural gas resources at Leviathan are sufficient to support one or more of the options being studied. We are excited to be leading the exploration and development in this new basin and look forward to determining the best development option."
Drilling at Leviathan-1 will continue to a planned total depth of 23,600 feet (7,200 meters) to evaluate two additional intervals. Current well depth is 16,960 feet (5,170 meters). Results from the deeper tests, which have a low chance of success, are expected over the next couple of months. The Company's second contracted rig will arrive in the Eastern Mediterranean in early 2011 to spud a Leviathan appraisal well located 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of the discovery well.
Noble Energy operates Leviathan, offshore Israel, with a 39.66 percent working interest. Other interest owners are Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration with 22.67 percent each and Ratio Oil Exploration with the remaining 15 percent. The Company also operates Tamar in the Matan license and Dalit in the Michal licenses with 36 percent working interests.