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Breaking News:

World's largest gas find in Israel

World's largest gas find in Israel

Large gas reserves confirmed at Israel’s Leviathan deposit

Leviathan worth $4.8B per year to Israel

Surplus of fuel for Israel

Official: Israel Holds Opportunity for U.S. Oil and Gas Firms

Israeli Oil, Gas, & Know-how To Liberate Europe From Energy Tyranny

Offshore oil treasures in eastern Mediterranean sea

Tamar Natural Gas Field – Haifa Israel

Tamar gas field location

Tamar natural gas discovery

Tamar field reserves

Tamar field development

Atwood Hunter rig

Tamar production

Tamar contracts

Related Prophecy


Related in the News


World's largest gas find in Israel

Egypt Oil & Gas - 2011

Posted on 6 February 2013 by "the witness"

Prepared by Mostafa Mabrouk,

Vice Chairman Assistant For Economic Affairs, Ganope


The latest achievements hit by Noble Energy offshore Israel have attracted world’s attention towards the probable gas potentials in Israel, which could turn it to a gas exporter instead of a current importer

Two years ago (January 2009), Ratio Oil Exploration LP, an energy firm, was worth about half a million dollars, while today, Ratio’s market capitalization approaches $1 billion. The rally at Ratio is mainly due to the company’s 15% stake in a giant offshore gas field called Leviathan, operated by Houston-based Noble Energy Inc., which made a natural gas discovery at the Tamar prospect in the Matan License, offshore Israel. The Atwood Hunter semisubmersible drilled the Tamar No. 1 well in 5,500 ft. of water to 16,076 ft., where it encountered more than 460 ft. of net pay in three high-quality reservoirs. Initial testing yielded a flow rate of 30 MMcfd of natural gas, but was limited by testing equipment available on the rig.

Performance modeling indicated the well could achieve a production rate of over 150 MMcfd.

Noble confirmed its estimates that the field contains 16 trillion cubic feet of gas -- making it the world’s biggest deep water gas find in a decade, with enough reserves to supply Israel’s gas needs for 100 years. After analysis of all the post-drill and production test data, the estimated gross means resource potential of Tamar was increased to 5 Tcf. The Atwood Hunter also drilled the Tamar-2 appraisal, which also encountered gas, and the Dalit-1 well, also offshore Israel in the Michal License, which encountered gas. Noble Energy operates the well with a 36% working interest with partners Isramco Negev 2 with 28.75%, Delek Drilling 15.625%, Avner Oil Exploration 15.625%, and Dor Gas Exploration 4%. Noble and its partners think the field could hold enough gas to transform Israel, a country precariously dependent on others for energy, into a net-energy exporter.

Such a transformation could potentially alter the geopolitical balance of the Middle East, giving Israel a new economic advantage over its neighbors. The energy index of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange rose 1,700% in the past year. In recent months, energy stocks accounted for about a quarter of trading activity on the exchange, once mostly the domain of real-estate companies. It is also shaken regional relations. Lebanese politicians are trying to lure companies to explore their nearby waters, while the two countries-- still technically at war -- have threatened each other over offshore resources. A minor diplomatic furor has erupted between Israel and the U.S., which is lobbying hard against Israel’s plans to raise taxes on energy companies, including Noble. Leviathan sits some 84 miles off Israel’s northern coast and more than three miles beneath the Mediterranean’s seabed. Noble began drilling its first exploratory well in the field in October. Even before Leviathan, a series of finds had put the so-called Levant Basin, stretching offshore in the Mediterranean, on the international energy map. In March, the U.S. Geological Survey released its first assessment of the zone, estimating it contained 1.7 billion barrels of oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. That is equal to half the proven gas reserves of the U.S. Except for the occasional small oil and gas find in its early years, Israel has searched in vain for energy. Big Oil shied away, worried about antagonizing Arab and Iranian partners. A hardy group of Israeli explorers kept at it anyway. Ratio was one of them. In the early 1990s, Ratio’s chief executive, formed the company to search for oil onshore.

By then, companies were also venturing offshore. In 1998, another Israeli energy firm, Delek Group Ltd., persuaded Noble, one of the first independents to operate offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, to start looking in Israel’s slice of the Mediterranean. Noble drilled its first Israeli well in 1999, and quickly scored two modest finds. Financial firms and local businessmen with little energy experience began snapping up offshore leases from the government. Armed with promising seismic data, the pair then convinced Noble and Delek to buy into their lease. They sold a 45% stake to Delek and a 40% stake to Noble.

In January 2009, Noble made a landmark discovery. The Tamar field contained premium quality gas -- almost pure methane. Noble had expected to find three trillion cubic feet at the most. The reservoir ended up containing nearly three times. Two months later, the company found a second, smaller deposit of gas at the nearby Dalit field. Then, last summer, Noble dropped a bombshell. The Leviathan field appeared to be a supergiant, according to three-dimensional seismic studies, with almost twice the gas reserves of Tamar. Ratio’s shares soared, and so did those of other energy firms in Tel Aviv. The rally set off alarm bells among regulators. Officials at the Israeli Securities Authority declined to comment on specific cases, but said they were concerned about an ongoing pattern in which small energy companies publish vague or misleading reports that cause their share prices to skyrocket, and often to plummet later. In September, the ISA raided the offices of two energy-exploration firms related to probes into trading irregularities.

Amid the stock-market frenzy, the Israeli government started considering changing its 1950s-era energy royalties and tax regime, to boost the government’s take of any gas find. Earlier this year, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said he was considering changing terms retroactively -- meaning the government could extract better terms on previously assigned leases. Noble and Israeli oil executives went on the offensive. The company enlisted high-level negotiators, including the U.S. State Department and former President Bill Clinton, to lobby against any change.

Despite these problems, Israel’s gas find is making waves abroad. Lebanon has staked out its own claim to offshore gas. In last August, lawmakers in Beirut rushed the country’s first oil-exploration law through its normally snarled parliament.

Lebanon’s Oil Minister, an ally of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, said in late October that his ministry hopes to start auctioning off exploration rights by 2012. Iran, Israel’s arch-nemesis and Hezbollah’s chief backer, has also weighed in. Tehran’s Ambassador to Lebanon claimed that three-quarters of the Leviathan field actually belongs to Lebanon. The Israeli infrastructure minister denied the claim and warned Lebanon that Israel would not hesitate to use force to protect its mineral rights. Meanwhile, the poster child of the boom, Ratio, has seen its star fade after authorities launched a criminal probe of the company’s relationship with an Israeli wanted by the U.S. on racketeering and conspiracy charges. The Israeli investigation is ongoing and charges have not been filed.

Large gas reserves confirmed at Israel’s Leviathan deposit

Test drilling at Israel’s Leviathan gas deposit in the Mediterranean Sea has confirmed large gas reserves there, which allow Israel to begin exporting gas, said the project operator, U.S. Company Noble Energy. Leviathan, located to the west of the Mediterranean port of Haifa, contains 450 billion cubic meters of gas, said the company quoting the results of test drilling. Additional drilling will be carried out at the gas field to specify the figure. The discovery is believed to assure the country’s

energy independence and is likely to put an end to Russia’s plans to export natural gas to Israel. Gas extraction at Leviathan, which is 6.5 times the size of Tel Aviv, is expected to provide Israel with some $300 billion over the life of the field – one-and-a-half times the national GDP. Noble Energy said there was a 50% chance that test drilling would confirm Leviathan’s estimated gas deposits. In 2009, a U.S.-Israeli consortium discovered another large gas deposit 60 miles off the coast of Haifa, called Tamar. The Leviathan field is estimated to be twice that size. Analysts say that altogether, the basin in the Eastern Mediterranean to which those fields belong could contain an amount of gas equivalent to one-fifth of U.S. natural gas reserves.

Leviathan worth $4.8B per year to Israel

Citi analyst David Lubin said that the Leviathan natural gas reserve, which may also include oil, is worth as much as $4.8 billion per year to Israel’s economy. Tests have shown that the Leviathan structure contains 16 Tcf (450 billion cubic meters) of natural gas. Lubin said that Leviathan appears to be worth the equivalent of 2.97 billion barrels of oil, or 74.25 million barrels per year for 40 years, or 203,000 barrels per day. Using an oil-equivalent price of $65 per barrel (which is a big discount on the price of oil to account for the difference between the price of gas and oil), his valuation would reach $4.8 billion, or 2.2% of 2010 GDP. Lubin’s earlier estimate was for an impact worth of 1% of GDP. Since then, he explained, two things happened to change the figure -- the price of oil has jumped, and there is now much more clarity about the size of Israel’s reserves. The analyst took pains to point out that there are some uncertainties about Israel’s gas situation, such as whether the gas will be exported or used to reduce Israel’s energy imports, the final tax and royalties arrangement now that the Sheshinski recommendations are headed to the Knesset, the extent of infrastructure costs, and how any state revenues will be used (to reduce the debt, as the Treasury wants, or to set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund, as the Bank of Israel suggests). All in all, Lubin clarified that it is likely good news for Israel’s economy and balance of payments -- which should support the shekel in the long term.

Surplus of fuel for Israel

After making a huge natural gas discovery off the coast of Israel, Noble Energy now faces a different challenge: figuring out what to do with it. With Israel suddenly awash in gas, the Houston company believes the clear answer is to export surplus gas to Europe or other parts of Asia, where it can fetch better prices.  Yet, none of the options the company is studying is simple and all would require billions more in investment.  The most likely scenario is building liquefied natural gas capacity in Israel, Noble CEO Charles Davidson said in an interview. Production from the company’s newly announced Leviathan gas field could easily support two “mega-train” plants to convert natural gas to liquid and prepare it for shipment to global ports, he said.  But if it goes that route, Noble would likely seek partners to help shoulder the multibillion-dollar project.

Another export option would be a deep-water pipeline, but that comes with more political risk, since it would require the blessing of neighbor nations, not all friendly with Israel. Given the size of the discovery, it may require LNG plants and a pipeline, Davidson said. On December 29th, the company found an estimated 16 Tcf of natural gas at the Leviathan field in the Mediterranean off Israel’s coast. Together with Noble’s Tamar field, discovered in 2009 and estimated to hold 8.5 Tcf of gas, Israel now faces potentially huge natural gas surpluses.  The discoveries put Israel on the global energy map long dominated by oil-rich Arab nations in the Middle East. And the finds are a huge boost for Noble, an independent oil and gas company in business for nearly 80 years.

A U.S. Geological Survey study last year said the Eastern Mediterranean’s Levant Basin could hold 1.7 billion barrels of oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. Discoveries there hold the potential to transform Israel’s economy and influence in the region and to open a new front in the global hunt for fossil fuels.  But, Israel’s recent plans to nearly double the tax rate on oil and natural gas production could make other companies cautious about rushing in.

Noble is still trying to come to terms with Israeli officials about how Leviathan should be treated under proposed rules that could boost the government’s take to 50% or more. Davidson said Israel has shown some willingness to ease tax requirements on fields discovered earlier, like Tamar. Higher taxes would not change Noble’s bullish outlook toward oil and gas production in Israel but could mean that marginal projects do not go forward, he said.

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Official: Israel Holds Opportunity for U.S. Oil and Gas Firms

by Matthew V. Veazey

Rigzone Staff

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Davidic star - Zion

Israel Natural Gas Lines' recent announcement that construction has begun on a submerged turret loading buoy linking liquefied natural gas imports to the country's gas transmission system is the latest example of its efforts to diversify its energy mix. However, Israel aims to boost its energy security with domestically produced oil and natural gas. In addition, it aspires to become an LNG exporter. To achieve these goals, it is inviting experienced oil and gas industry players from the United States to establish operations in the country.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey , the Levant Basin Province in the Eastern Mediterranean holds a mean recoverable reserve of 122 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil. The province straddles the maritime boundaries of Cyprus, Gaza Strip, Israel, Lebanon and Syria.

Seeking to foster closer oil and gas industry ties between U.S. and Israeli companies and educational institutions, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration will lead an oil and gas trade mission to Israel this fall. The trade mission is scheduled for Oct. 28-Nov. 1, 2012. Organizers say the trip is geared toward firms specializing in exploration, production, pipeline construction, logistical services, workforce training (including universities) and other related subsectors.

Janice Corbett, Regional Director for Africa, Near East and South Asia with the U.S. Commercial Service, recently discussed the growing oil and gas industry opportunities in the Israeli market with Rigzone. Below are excerpts from the interview with Corbett, who oversees a network of 170 commercial officers and locally engaged staff in 18 countries with the goal of helping U.S. companies export.

Q: Why should U.S. companies join the trade mission, and why Israel?

A: We see this mission as an excellent opportunity for U.S. companies in the oil and gas industry to expand their international sales. In the last few years, Israel has made tremendous natural gas discoveries off its coast -- some are the largest in a decade -- which are poised to transform the energy landscape in this historically resource-poor country. Added to this great opportunity is Israel's exciting oil shale projects and crude oil exploration going on onshore.

The trade mission, which includes stops in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, will enable participating U.S. firms to gain market insights, make industry contacts, solidify business strategies, and advance specific projects. The advantage of participating in this official U.S. industry delegation is that it provides for one-on-one business matchmaking meetings with prospective Israeli partners as well as access to key Israeli decision-makers in the energy sector -- all of which are crucial first steps in gaining a foothold in the country. Traveling as a part of this mission will increase a firm's exposure in Israel and ability to secure meetings.

Q: Can you give readers a sense of the changes taking place in Israel's oil and gas market?

A: The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are 122 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable gas in the region, most of it in Israeli waters. Recently, gas was discovered offshore at the Tamar and Leviathan fields, 81 miles off the Mediterranean port city of Haifa. Combined, they hold more than 30 TCF of gas.

Meanwhile, local companies do not have the infrastructure or human capital to fully capture the opportunities these resources provide. Israeli policy dictates that prospective license owners must begin prospecting within four months of license issuance and drilling within two years. Right now, there just are not enough domestic operators to meet these targets. This opens up a unique opportunity for U.S. firms to partner with willing and eager local companies in areas such as design and construction and facility maintenance -- areas where U.S. firms have decades of experience.

Finally, for U.S. firms that may have missed the boat on these initial discoveries, there are still huge opportunities to be tapped. In the coming weeks, the government of Israel is expected to announce what percentage of the natural gas it will set aside for export Any percentage opens up the possibility of long-term investment opportunities in the country.

Q: You've spoken a lot about natural gas. What about oil?

A: The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that Israel is sitting on 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Many existing oil exploration licenses will expire in 2012-2013, which provides an excellent opportunity for U.S. oil exploration companies. But even more promising are the country's shale deposits, which could ultimately yield as many as 250 billion barrels of oil. In fact, 15 percent of Israel is underlain by oil shale.

Q: Some U.S. companies might have reservations about doing business in the Middle East, given security issues in the region. What would you say to them?

A: The security question is a very legitimate concern for businesses operating abroad. The reality is that Americans companies operate successfully throughout the Middle East and North Africa. However, before traveling anywhere in the world, we always encourage U.S. business travelers to access the State Department's website for the most recent travel advisories or notices. The Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which has a large collection of travel tips, safety advisories, and other useful information specific to Israel can be accessed here.

Q: For readers who have never been to Israel, what are some basic tips for doing business in the country?

A: The first thing American businesspeople always mention is that the business attire in Israel is generally much less formal in both private industry and government offices. But do not let that fool you. Israelis are known to come to meetings extremely well-prepared. We advise U.S. businesses to provide Israeli partners with meeting agendas outlining specific objectives in advance of the meeting date. In terms of language, most Israelis are multilingual, and English is the third most common language spoken after Hebrew and Arabic. However, it is a very nice courtesy to use at least a few Hebrew words and phrases, especially when greeting one's host. Finally, business hours in Israel typically run from Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays are mostly reserved for private affairs and Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath.

Q: What kind of export assistance is available for U.S. companies looking to export?

A: The U.S. Commercial Service (CS) connects U.S. companies to international buyers around the world through its network of offices in 108 U.S. cities and U.S. Embassies and Consulates in 72 countries, including Tel Aviv, Israel. The CS offers export counseling, market research, business matchmaking, trade missions, advocacy, participation in trade events, and more. Businesses can contact their nearest U.S. Commercial Service office at www.export.gov or visit the U.S. Commercial Service in Israel at www.export.gov/Israel.

We also work to put businesses in touch with avenues to financing. For example, the Export-Import Bank provides finance assistance to small and medium-sized U.S. exporters, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation provides financing for investment projects overseas that benefit U.S. companies.

Q: How can companies find out more about the oil and gas trade mission to Israel?

A: We encourage businesses to register for the trade mission by visiting www.export.gov/trademissions/israel2012/. Deadline for registrations is September 7, 2012. For more information, contact David McCormack at email: david.mccormack@trade.gov

Also watch this video about how off shore oil was found and on shore oil are being searched for: Zion Oil & Gas

Zion Oil & Gas

@ http://www.youtube.com/embed/KhkWJtc5LdM

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Israeli Oil, Gas, & Know-how To Liberate Europe From Energy Tyranny

11 March 2011

New Isreal gas rigg in the Mediteranean

Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., writes an evocative piece in the Jerusalem Post about Israel’s potential for altering the geo-political balance through innovation in its energy sector. Beyond Israel’s massive natural gas deposits which have garnered most of the publicity, there’s a possibility Israel also has the world’s 3rd largest oil shale deposits, an amount rivaling Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves. Here is where Israeli innovation and know-how will need to rise to the challenge because extracting oil from shale is generally not an environmentally-friendly process. If successful however, it could provide a colossal new energy source for Europe, China, and India. This has the potential not only to change Israel’s economic fortunes, but also to rob its enemies of their most powerful weapon, the threat of using petroleum for economic blackmail.

It’s worth noting that as recently as 10 years ago, nobody thought there were any meaningful oil & gas deposits in Israel. Nobody that is, but some highly optimistic explorers like Zion Oil and Givot Olam Oil who drew their faith from certain bible passages that convinced them major deposits awaited discovery in Israel:

  • In Deuteronomy 32:13, the Torah states that Jacob (Israel) would “…suck honey from a rock, and oil from the mighty part of the crag.”
  • Deteronomy 33:13 says of Joseph: “His land shall be blessed by the Lord, with the sweetness of the heavens with dew, and with the deep that lies below….”
  • And in Deteronomy 33:19 we find this passage: “For they will be nourished by the abundance of the seas, and by the treasures hidden in the sand.”

Make of it what you will, but today Israel is on the verge of becoming a major energy exporter, something once unimaginable.

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Offshore oil treasures in eastern Mediterranean sea

Eastern Mediterranean Seismic data

Eastern Mediterranean Seismic data

With industry interest reawakened by recent deepwater, sub-salt gas finds offshore Israel, the eastern Mediterranean and Levantine Basin today loom large on the frontier exploration agenda. Offshore Cyprus and Lebanon are huge unexplored areas in the eastern Mediterranean. This deepwater area is close to proven offshore hydrocarbon provinces in the Nile Delta and Israel. Until recently, shallow post-salt targets have been the main focus in these areas; however, with recent advances in seismic technology sub-salt plays have been revealed. The recent deepwater, sub-salt gas discoveries offshore Israel have significantly increased industry interest in the eastern Mediterranean and particularly the Levantine Basin. High quality Lower Miocene reservoir sands were discovered in both the Tamar and Dalit wells (Figure 1). Analogues to the drilled structures offshore Israel can be found both offshore Cyprus and Lebanon which may prove to be a new province for oil and gas in the next few years.

When the Republic of Cyprus arranged its first licensing round in 2007, Noble Energy was awarded block 12. The second licence round, scheduled to open this year, will include all the remaining open exploration blocks covering a huge unexplored area. Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) has provided the Cyprus commerce, industry & tourism ministry with a dense 2D coverage over the exploration blocks, and one 3D survey. The data covers an offshore area of more than 50,000km2 and forms the basis for a geological report, with interpretation and assessment of the variety of plays in the Herodotus Basin, the Eratosthenes Continental Block, the Cyprus Arc Basin and the Levantine Basin.

The Republic of Lebanon is preparing for its first offshore licensing round and anticipates an announcement this year. It is offering oil and gas companies more than 25,000km2 of highly prospective acreage located north of the oil and gas producing areas of Gaza and Israel. The offshore area is covered by extensive 2D – an extension of the recent 2D dual-sensor (GeoStreamer) survey offshore Cyprus – as well as by 3D seismic data. The data reveals several attractive hydrocarbon plays where the primary focus would be in the Miocene sub-salt plays, the Jurassic/Cretaceous horst blocks and Miocene stratigraphic pinch-outs.

The recent 2D seismic data was acquired with the GeoStreamer which differs from a conventional streamer in that it has two recording sensors. A pressure sensor in a conventional towed streamer always records two wavefields that interfere with each other. The two wavefields are the up-going pressure wavefield propagating directly to the pressure sensor from the earth below and the down-going pressure wavefield reflected downwards from the free (sea) surface immediately above the streamer. Thus, every recorded reflection wavelet from conventional marine streamers is accompanied by a ghost reflection from the ocean’s surface.

The PGS dual-sensor streamer (GeoStreamer) measures both the pressure wave field using hydrophones, and the vertical component of the particle velocity using motion sensors. By combining the data from the two sensors the energy can be separated into up- and down-going parts (Carlson et al, 2007). By considering only the up-going wavefield, the effect of the ghost reflections from the sea surface is removed. When the ghost reflections are removed, the resulting spectrum is flat and broadband thus enabling the user to optimize the data quality, not just for one target depth, but for all depths shallow to deep.

The dual-sensor streamer was towed deep to increase the energy level on the low frequencies and still keep the desired content of high frequencies. The deep tow ensured a quiet environment which, combined with the enhanced low frequency signal, significantly increased the signal-to-noise ratio of the seismic data. Based on experience of the operations in the eastern Mediterranean, the dual-sensor streamer benefits have been seen in three key areas: enhanced resolution of the seismic image both shallow and deep, due to a broader frequency spectrum; better signal penetration revealing sub-salt and deeper targets, which have been valuable for the interpretation; and improved seismic operational efficiency due to less weather down-time.

The continuous seismic coverage from Cyprus to Lebanon provides an excellent starting point to understand the geological development of this prospective region. Matching and balancing of the entire PGS 2D and 3D seismic database and including third party data in the offshore regions, has been undertaken. A total of 18,000km GeoStreamer 2D data, 18,000km conventional 2D data, in addition to 2900km2 3D seismic data, has allowed interpretation of regional reflectors, with no restriction across country borders. The data has provided an improved understanding of the nature of the hydrocarbon systems, improved interpretation of plays and prospects, and clearer understanding of the hydrocarbon potential of the different basins in the area. Six key regional horizons have been interpreted across the data set. The horizons for interpretation were chosen based on reflector continuity and regional character, in order to enable us to delineate the different tectonic elements in the area such as the Levantine Basin, the Cyprus Arc, the Eratosthenes Seamount and the Herodotus Basin. The interpretation has also outlined several prospects and leads at the potential reservoir horizons.

While no wells have been drilled within the study area, the hydrocarbon charge system is interpreted to have potential source intervals in possible Middle Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous- Lower Tertiary and Lower Miocene. The isolated structural setting of the Levantine Basin favours the deposition of source rocks, and it is considered highly unlikely that no source rocks are present in such a thick sedimentary succession. Nearby discoveries in the NEMED block in Egypt, the recent deepwater Lower Miocene Tamar and Dalit discoveries and exploration wells drilled in the shallow water and onshore areas of Israel and Gaza have already proved the presence of a working hydrocarbon system in both the Herodotus and the Levantine Basin. Proven reservoir facies, in the Cenozoic of the eastern Mediterranean, occur in a variety of depositional settings and frequently display god reservoir quality and we believe that there is a strong likelihood that clastic and/or carbonate reservoirs will be present in the current area of interest. Preliminary regional interpretation indicates, among other possibilities, the presence of basin floor fan systems, channel systems and carbonate build ups. The sedimentary basins of the eastern Mediterranean contain a wide range of trapping styles.

The most prospective trap types in the deepwater Levantine Basin are currently considered to be sub-salt NE-SW trending folds and NNE-SSW trending faulted anticlinal Syrian Arc traps. But other trap types such as tilted fault blocks, horst blocks and stratigraphic traps have also been identified and the interpretation has already revealed several large structural analogues to the Tamar discovery in the Levantine Basin. The thick, extensive Messinian Evaporite succession that characterizes the geology of the eastern Mediterranean should constitute an effective regional top seal. As with its larger counterparts in the North Sea and West Africa, the EMMP is planned to expand, using a phased approach, to include data from neighbouring countries offshore. But today it is already supplying interested parties with an invaluable head start prior to the upcoming licensing rounds in both Cyprus and Lebanon.

Offshore Cyprus and Lebanon are offering highly attractive acreage for exploration. A recent regional GeoStreamer 2D seismic data grid has improved the data coverage and quality to reveal new subsalt plays. The Eastern Mediterranean MegaProject is providing seamless seismic data coverage across country borders to increase the understanding of the hydrocarbon systems and potential of the eastern Mediterranean.

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Tamar Natural Gas Field – Haifa Israel


Tamar gas field map

The first appraisal well that discovered natural gas reservoirs in the Tamar field is situated 90km west of the northern port of Haifa, Israel.

The Tamar field is a natural gas discovery made by Noble Energy in January 2009 and is the company's largest find to date. Noble Energy owns 36% in Tamar and is the operator of the field. Isramco Negev 2 owns 28.75%, while two of Delek Group's subsidiaries - Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration - own 15.625% each. The remaining 4% stake is held by Dor Gas Exploration.

According to estimates, the field has reserves of 8.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas. First production from Tamar is expected in 2012. The project was approved in August 2010.

Tamar gas field location

The Tamar field is located in the Levantine basin of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The prospect falls under the Matan licence, which Noble Energy has operated since July 2006.

The Matan deepwater block covers 318km² while the Tamar structure is spread over 250km². The first appraisal well that discovered Tamar's natural gas reservoirs is 90km west of the port of Haifa on the Israeli coast.

Tamar natural gas discovery

"Noble Energy owns 36% in Tamar and is the operator of the field."

The presence of natural gas in the Tamar field was discovered in January 2009. The discovery was made by the first appraisal well Tamar-1.

A total of three reservoirs were found by the appraisal well. Tamar-1 is located at a water depth of about 5,500ft. The well was drilled to a total depth of 16,076ft. The structure that the well tested is a lower-Miocene prospect.

A net pay exceeding 460ft was identified in the three reservoirs by the formation logs.

Tamar field reserves

Tamar's first appraisal well

The first appraisal well that discovered natural gas reservoirs in the Tamar field is situated 90km west of the northern port of Haifa, Israel.

Pre-drill estimates at Tamar were 3.1tcf of natural gas. Following flow testing of the first appraisal well in February 2009, the estimates were raised to 5tcf, then subsequently increased to 6.3tcf following the drilling of second appraisal well Tamar-2. As of 2011, reserves are estimated at 8.4tcf.

Further assessment of the discovery is being carried out by an independent consulting firm to confirm the resources at the field.

Tamar field development

The Tamar field is being explored because the 3D seismic data over the Levantine basin collected from Spectrum indicated potential for natural gas resources in Tamar and other fields in the basin. Development of the Tamar field started in 2003 when the first appraisal well was proposed to be drilled.

Named Tamar-1, the well targeted sands lying at 2,500m subsea. The cost of drilling the appraisal well was initially estimated at $40m, but has escalated to more than $145m.

"Estimates increased to 6.3tcf of natural gas following the drilling of second appraisal well Tamar-2."

Tamar-1 discovered three high potential gas reservoirs at the field. During flow testing in the month that followed, Tamar-1 yielded a flow rate of 30 million cubic feet of natural gas per day (mmcf per day).

The well is likely to achieve a production rate of more than 150mmcf per day. The testing was conducted to a limited depth of 59ft.

In July 2009 Noble Energy completed drilling of the second appraisal well Tamar-2. The well is situated about 3.5 miles northeast of Tamar-1. Tamar-2 is at 5,530ft of water depth and was drilled to a total depth of 16,880ft.

Noble Energy collected additional 3D seismic data over 1,600 square miles of the Tamar region in the second half of 2009, after the drilling of Tamar-2 was completed. Based on the leads obtained from the seismic programme Noble Energy continued to explore the Tamar field before it started development drilling in September 2011.

The drilling of Tamar-2 confirmed high quality gas at the reservoirs and surged the total reserves at the field from 5tcf to 6.3tcf of natural gas. In April 2011, drilling of four more wells - Tamar-3, Tamar-4, Tamar-5 and Tamar-6 - began. Tamar-5 did not encounter any gas, but Tamar-3 discovered a new layer of gas at the field. This new discovery, layer D, was found at a depth of 5,160m and is expected to contain 0.5-1.5tcf of gas reserves.

Atwood Hunter rig

The appraisal wells at Tamar were drilled by the Atwood Hunter rig, a semi-submersible rig owned by Atwood Oceanics. The rig can drill to a maximum water depth of 5,000ft.

Atwood Hunter was used to conduct drilling at Dalit, another Israeli field operated by Noble Energy.

Atwood Hunter was constructed in 1981 and refurbished in 1997. It was further upgraded in 2002 and can drill to depths of up to 28,000ft.

Tamar production

Gas will be produced through subsea wells tied back to the Tamar platform. The wells will be linked to the platform through 150km long flowlines. The platform will be installed at a depth of 800ft and will have a processing capacity of 1.2bcf per day of natural gas. The topsides of the platform will feature four deck levels and weigh nearly 10,000t.

"The well is likely to achieve a production rate of over 150mmcf a day."

Noble Energy made two agreements in December 2009 to supply the produced natural gas at Tamar. The agreements are expected to generate a revenue of $10.5bn.

Tamar field

The Tamar field is the largest natural gas discovery by Noble Energy to date. The tapping is likely to increase Israel's standing as a global producer of natural gas.

The first letter of intent (LoI) was signed on 15 December 2009 with Dalia Power Energies, a private electricity company. As per the LoI, Dalia will receive natural gas from Tamar for 17 years. Dalia will use the natural gas to produce electricity at a gas-fired power plant to be set up at Tzafit in 2013.

The agreement is estimated to generate revenue of $1bn for a supply of 200 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas. The LoI also has provision to increase the supply up to 700BCF.

The second LoI to sell Tamar natural gas was signed on 28 December 2009 with Israel Electric Corporation (IEC). The 15-year agreement allows IEC to buy 95bcf of gas a year, generating estimated revenue of $9.5bn for the owners of Tamar field.

Tamar contracts

The contract for subsea umbilicals for the development of Tamar was won by Aker Solutions. The contract for their supply was placed by Noble Energy in April 2010. Under the NKr650m contract, Aker will supply 240km of steel tube umbilicals.

The contract also requires Aker Solutions to provide subsea engineering and project management services for installing the umbilicals, which it plans to provide from its office in Houston, US.

"The 15-year agreement allows IEC to buy 95bcf of gas a year, generating estimated revenues of $9.5bn."

The umbilicals will be supplied by Aker Subsea, a subsidiary of Aker Solutions. They will be manufactured at the contractor's facility at Mobile, Alabama,

In April 2010, Noble Energy awarded another contract worth more than NKr300m to Aker Solutions for a complete mono ethylene glycol (MEG) reclamation unit. The unit will be employed to assist in removing the blockages in subsea pipelines to be installed at the Tamar field.

The MEG reclamation unit prevents the formation of ice and hydrate and thus avoids the blockage of pipelines. Aker Process Systems, a subsidiary of Aker Solutions, manufactures the reclamation unit. In June 2010, Aker received another order to supply subsea control equipment for the field. The contract was worth Nkr150m.

EMAS was contracted in April 2011 to install umbilicals and subsea equipment for the field. The contract also includes supply of subsea suction piles and jumpers.

In May 2011, Alliance Engineering was contracted to design and engineer the Tamar platform and its topsides.

World map of natural gas production

World map of natural gas production in cubic metres per year


Key Data

  • Output Natural Gas

  • Discovered January 2009

  • Estimated Reserves 8.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas

  • Production Begins 2012

  • Ownership Noble Energy (36%), Isramco Negev 2 (28.75%), Delek Drilling (15.625%), Avner Oil Exploration (15.625%) and Dor Gas Exploration (4%)

  • Operator Noble Energy

  • Contractors Aker Solutions, Alliance Engineering, EMAS


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