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Israeli Energy Ministry Tries to Downplay Leviathan Gas Field Size

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.

Related: Saudi Arabia Raises Oil Prices to Asia But Cut Prices to Europe

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.

Related: U.S. Oil Rig Count Up 9 - Biggest Jump Since Last Year

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.

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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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  • Ziv on June 08 2016 said:
    Steve, only if you ignore international law. The Palestinians have the Mary field off Gaza, and have squandered the proceeds. Israel is the only adult in the region. Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Lebanon all behave like children. Jordan is a bit better but they don't have a lot of Med front property...
  • Steve Lane on June 07 2016 said:
    It looks like many of those gas fields should belong to Gaza!

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