Israel Navy missile ship patrols near Tamar gas field.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Energy, Infrastructure and Water Resources Ministry said Thursday that based on data from EPM and a professional opinion from international company RPS Energy, reserves at the Leviathan reservoir off Haifa’s coast contain 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas, about 20 percent below the previously estimated 621 BCM The number could, however, change from time to time and updates would be provided as measurements continue to be carried out, the ministry said.
The determination came in the same report in which the ministry’s petroleum commissioner, Yossi Wirtzburger, had approved the next stage in Leviathan’s development, which will allow spots in the reservoir’s southern 14/I and northern 15/I areas to have pipelines connecting to two previously approved connection points on land, in Emek Hefer and near Yokne’am, as part of National Master Plan (TAMA) 37-H.
Each stage of the development process, such as drilling, laying down pipelines and rig construction, requires such approval from the ministry.
Energy, Infrastructure and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz called the commissioner’s approval a “significant and essential cornerstone for developing Israel’s biggest natural treasure ever discovered.”
“Nowadays, with a decrease in exports and investments, the natural gas from Leviathan will be an important engine for growth,” he said. Steinitz did not mention the lower natural gas reserve data.
The Leviathan reservoir is owned by a consortium consisting of Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy (39.66 percent) Delek Group subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration (22.67% each), and Ratio Oil Exploration (15%).
Bini Zomer, Noble Energy’s Israel country manager, said the latest approval will “add to the other activities going on simultaneously in order to stick to an accelerated schedule to get gas flowing from Leviathan as soon as possible.”