Survey shows gas find "bigger than previous estimates"

Noble Energy will lease an extra drilling platform, at reduced rates due to the BP spill crisis, to explore the Leviathan field.

A comprehensive seismic survey of the large Leviathan offshore gas field (comprising the Amit, Rachel, and three other licenses) is to be published tonight in the US and sources inform "Globes" that its findings are "bigger than all previous estimates." The license for the field is held by Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) (39.66%) Ratio Oil Exploration Ltd. (TASE:RATI.L) (15%), Avner Oil and Gas Ltd. (TASE:AVNR.L) (22.67%) and Delek Drilling Limited Partnership (TASE:DEDR.L) (22.67%). The Leviathan field is due west of the Tamar license, north west of Haifa.

Sources also inform "Globes" that Noble Energy is negotiating to bring an additional offshore platform to Israel from the Gulf of Mexico. The crisis caused by the BP oil spill is enabling Noble Energy to lease the platform at reduced rates of $500,000 per day. The platform will be used for exploration purposes in the Leviathan field at a site to be chosen by Noble Energy according to the findings of the latest seismic survey.

In the past few days, following the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, Noble Energy has been approached by several international companies, which operate drilling platforms. With the shares of oil companies plunging and several major oil giants already announcing the freezing of drilling operations due to federal orders, the companies are eager to lease their platforms on contracts of more than a year.

Meanwhile the results of Noble's survey undertaken between September and December 2009 will be published tonight. The survey maps the underwater geological structure covering 4,500 square kilometers including 15 areas in Israeli economic waters and some areas in Cypriot economic waters. Most attention will be focused on the Leviathan structure. There will also be interest in the Alon field further north.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on June 2, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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