Leviathan exploratory drilling results delayed

The prospect's partners expect results from the exploratory well in late December.

The Israeli partners in the Leviathan prospect notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) this morning that a delay was likely in completing various tests on the Leviathan 1 well. The results were due to be published on Monday.

The tests include the logs (electrical tests) in the main target strata (prospect NG 10), until late December.

Investors in Leviathan's Israel partners - Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) units Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L) and Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L), and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L) - have been waiting for weeks for the results from the exploratory well.

The Israeli companies said that their US partner and well operator Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) unit Noble Energy Mediterranean Inc. informed them of the delay.

Two weeks ago, the Leviathan partners announced that signs of natural gas were found in Leviathan's first target strata, at a depth of 5,100 meters. 3D seismic studies indicate the presence of 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the structure, almost double the quantity at Tamar, which is also partly owned by Delek and Noble Energy.

The Leviathan exploratory drilling is next set to aim for the second target strata, at a depth of 5,800 meters, which may also contain oil. Results are scheduled for early 2011. The chance of geological success of oil, estimated at three billion barrels, in these strata is 17%. If oil is discovered, the ramifications could be even greater than the Tamar discovery.

Delek Group's share price fell 0.6% in early trading to NIS 986,70, giving a market cap of NIS 11.39 billion. Avner's share price fell 1.9% to NIS 2.58, giving a market cap of NIS 8.76 billion; Delek Drilling's share price fell 2.2% to NIS 13.84, giving a market cap of NIS 7.74 billion, and Ratio's share price fell 3.8% to NIS 0.51, giving a market cap of NIS 3.62 billion.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 9, 2010

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

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