Tamar bigger than thought

The reserve is 26% larger than previously estimated, and the value of the natural gas is now $30 billion, rather than $20 billion.

The Tamar natural gas prospect offshore from Haifa is 26% larger than previously estimated, amounting to 180 billion cubic meters, Nobel Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) said.

The new estimate is based on the Tamar 2 appraisal well. The estimate based on the Tamar 1 well was 142 billion cubic meters. Energy market sources had already believed that the appraisal well would indicate that the natural gas reserves were larger than first estimated, and could reach 200 billion cubic meters.

Nobel Energy owns 36% of the prospect, Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L) owns 28.75%, Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) subsidiaries Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L) and Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L) each own 15.625%, and Alon Israel Oil Company Ltd. subsidiary Dor Gas Exploration Ltd. owns 4%.

The new estimate means that the Tamar prospect could meet Israel's natural gas needs for at least five more years than first thought, for a total of 20 years.

The value of the natural gas is now $30 billion, rather than the $20 billion based on the previous estimate of the gas field.

Noble Energy chairman and CEO Charles Davidson said, "The results of the appraisal well are extremely positive for Noble Energy, our partners, and the state of Israel. With drilling at Tamar and Dalit, we have already confirmed a very substantial amount of natural gas resources, perhaps over two decades of future supply based on projected needs. As such, we are moving forward with development plans focused on bringing the first phase of production to the Israeli shores by 2012."

Isramco's share rose 4.5% on Nasdaq yesterday to $123.55, and 6.6% to NIS 0.39 in early trading on the TASE today. Delek Group's share rose 2% to NIS 514.50, Delek Drilling rose 12.2% to NIS 6.41, and Avner Oil rose 3.3% to NIS 0.94. Nobel Energy fell 3% yesterday.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 8, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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