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The Israeli Energy Ministry has said that the supergiant Leviathan offshore gas field may be 20 percent smaller than its developers, US-based Noble Energy and Israeli partner Delek have previously estimated.
The Israeli Energy Ministry has qualified its statement downplaying the field’s potential by saying that new drilling data could cause a change of opinion.
Last week, the Energy Ministry approved the development plan for Leviathan, but noted its own estimates of reserves at 17.6 trillion cubic feet of gas. Noble and Delek have previously estimated 21.9 trillion cubic feet.
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Noble and Delek remain firm in their original estimate, noting in a statement carried by Reuters that “the partnership clarifies that there has been no change in the resource estimate”.
According to the Jerusalem Post, this is a “numbers game” now. Noble and Delek are relying on estimates from an independent consulting company, Netherland, Sewell and Associates Inc.
The Israeli Energy Ministry is relying on its own data and independent analysis from RPS Energy, an international company.
New drilling data will be obtained with the drilling of the Leviathan 5 well.
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At stake is a massive gas field worth $5-$6 billion and believed to contain some 22 trillion cubic feet of gas, slated to begin extraction by 2019.
Israeli conglomerate Delek Group holds a 45.34 percent stake in Leviathan. Texas-based Noble has a 39.66 percent share, and Israel's Ratio Oil has the remaining 15 percent.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com