Myra,Sarah gas field licensees confirm optimistic potential

Companies’ share prices plunge as investors worry about varying estimates.

June 30, 2011 23:32
3 minute read.
Drillling for gas offshore

Offshore Gas Drilling 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Myra and Sarah licensees announced Thursday that their offshore fields have potential reserves of 6.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to an analysis of the 3-D seismic survey by Netherland Sewell & Associates Ltd.

The discovery is the third-largest gas discovery off Israel’s shore, after 8.6

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at Tamar and 16 at Leviathan.

Myra and Sarah are located in deepwater northwest of Netanya and southeast of Leviathan. They are part of the Levant Basin, which the US Geological Survey estimates has 122 of natural gas.

“This is an excellent report for us and for the energy sector,” Israel Land Development Company Energy Ltd. CEO Ohad Marani said at a press conference in Tel Aviv.

“Today is a celebration,” he said. “We are going to be the next big thing in Israel.”

According to the Petroleum Supervisor, ILDC Energy, through Emanuelle Energy Ltd., owns 48.2 percent of the Myra and Sarah licenses; Modiin Energy LP, controlled by Nochi Dankner’s IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. and Tzahi Sultan, owns 24.38%; Canada’s GeoGlobal Resources Inc. owns 5% through its Indian unit; Israel Petroleum Company Inc. (IPC) owns 13.6%; and Blue Water Oil and Gas Exploration Ltd., owned by Prentis Tomlinson, owns 8.78%.

Netherland Sewell estimates the gross mean resources at Myra at 4.5, with a 58% probability of geological success, and 1.9 at Sarah, with a 43% probability of geological success.

The average probability of geological success for both licenses is 54%, compared with 35% for Tamar.

Netherland Sewell also estimates that Myra and Sarah could have 150.7 million barrels of oil, with an 18% probability of geological success. Myra has gross mean resources of 113.4 million barrels of oil, with an 18% probability of geological success, while Sarah has 37.3 million barrels of oil, with a 23% probability of geological success.

“The depths of the gas target strata are the Tamar sands, and the oil-target strata begin at a depth of 4,000 meters,” Marani said.

IPC is due to merge with stock-market shell Shaldieli Ltd. Premium (PIH) Holdings Ltd., controlled by Yuli Ofer and Nimrod Rinot, is waiting for the Petroleum Supervisor’s approval to acquire a stake from IPC.

“The discoveries announced today are welcome news for the oil and gas industry and for the Israeli economy as a whole,” Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Thursday.

“As these discoveries are verified, they will further strengthen the necessary competition between existing gas reserves and will lower prices,” he said.

“These discoveries demonstrate the importance of setting up the Sheshinski Committee and the rapid implementation of its recommendations to ensure that Israel’s citizens will share in the natural resources now discovered.”

The share prices of Israel Land Development Company Energy and Modiin Energy LP fell 22.8% and 19.4%, respectively, after the the announcement.

The share prices of Premium (PIH) Holdings and Shaldieli also fell 13.5% and 29.5%, respectively.

The plunge in the companies’ share prices came after they soared in the runup to it, confirming the old adage, “Buy on rumor, sell on fact.” But there may be a more profound reason: market worries that the discovery is actually much smaller than the companies say.

What worries investors is the huge difference between the low estimate of 673 billion cubic feet of gas for Myra and Sarah and the high estimate of 16.2

The market is therefore waiting for the results of the exploratory well, which will begin drilling next January. That will give a more precise figure for the fields’ gas reserves and narrow the current range. Until then, the uncertainty about the licenses will remain high, and the capital market does not like uncertainty.

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