leviathan gas drill.
(photo credit: (Albatross))
The National Infrastructures Ministry has ordered a halt to drilling in the
Leviathan structure, after water entered the borehole of the Leviathan 2 well,
which aims to verify the presence of natural gas in the structure. A ministry
source told Globes, “We were very lucky that water, not gas, or God forbid, oil,
penetrated the borehole, which could have caused a major ecological
No drilling is currently underway at Leviathan. Drilling of
the Leviathan 2 well was due to resume this week.
The ministry has
ordered Leviathan’s operating partner Noble Energy Inc. to provide a detailed
report of the breakdown, which will include a description of the findings and
measures taken by the company to prevent future similar breakdowns. The ministry
will seek the assistance of outside experts to check the issue, and has also
also ordered Noble Energy to provide, as soon as possible, the Petroleum
Supervisor with a detailed plan for abandoning the Leviathan 2 well, pursuant to
the Petroleum Law and US standards.
After the Petroleum Supervisor
approves the plan, the company will abandon the well.
The Leviathan 2
well is due to verify the natural gas reserves found by the Leviathan 1
exploratory well. Drilling of the Leviathan 2 well began on March 15 and was
suspended on May 8, at a depth of 4,548 meters.
Leviathan’s partners said
in response to the ministry’s order that the penetration of water into the
borehole was insignificant, but that they decided nonetheless to move the
Leviathan 2 well site, because they intend to use the borehole for gas
production for many years, and there was concern that Leviathan 2’s borehole was
not suitable for this.
On May 14, Noble Energy notified the ministry of
the circumstances for abandoning the well. The company said that all technical
requirements for cementing the borehole had been properly carried out by
lowering protective pipes.
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On May 26, Petroleum Supervisor Dr. Yaakov
Mimran ordered Noble Energy to stop preparations for further drilling at
Leviathan, and that new drilling would be subject to the results of the
examination into the breakdown at the Leviathan 2 well, and after the Petroleum
Supervisor received the detailed report.
After rising in morning trading,
shares in Leviathan’s Israeli partners fell sharply on the news. Delek Group
Ltd. fell 1.2 percent by midafternoon to NIS 7.64, its units Avner Oil and Gas
LP and Delek Drilling LP fell 2.1% to NIS 2.05 and 2.2% to NIS 11.54,
Ratio Oil Exploration fell 5.4% to NIS 0.38. Noble Energy
owns 39.66% of Leviathan, Delek units Avner and Delek Drilling each own 22.67%
and Ratio owns 15%.
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