(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
It’s a numbers battle now, as members of the Leviathan natural gas consortium responded for the first time to news that the reservoir might contain 20 percent less gas than originally estimated.
In a joint statement on Sunday to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Texas-based Noble Energy (39.66% of Leviathan’s ownership), Delek Group subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration (each with 22.6%) and Ratio Oil Exploration (15%) rejected the latest estimate by the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry.
They held fast to their original estimates from the independent oil and gas consultation company Netherland, Sewell and Associates Inc. and emphasized that there has been no change. They maintained that the reservoir contains 621 billion cubic meters of gas.
The ministry said Thursday evening that Leviathan contained an estimated 500b.cu.m. of natural gas based on its own data and an analysis by the international company RPS Energy.
Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On said of the new figure that it was “yet another exposure of the shaky foundations upon which the gas outline is based.” She requested a meeting to be held on the issue in the Knesset’s Finance Committee.
“In these very days, the natural gas partners are signing long-term export contracts that will be almost impossible to break free from in the future,” she said, charging that they were promising to export more than what the reserves had.
Yossi Dorfman, head of the Gas Campaign group of the student movement Green Course, said that the information had been “hidden from the ministry for a long period of time, until the updated gas outline could be passed.” He called for the gas outline to be canceled completely, saying it was not being done in the public’s interest.
The ministry said estimates were liable to change from time to time, and thus, it would continue to measure the Leviathan reserve and provide updates.