Rig dispute could delay Myra, Sarah gas drilling

The Homer Ferrington rig is currently drilling in Leviathan partners’ license and it's not clear if it'll be available to drill February 2012.

By AMIRAM BARKAT/GLOBES
October 2, 2011 21:49
2 minute read.
Leviathan holds 453 billion cu.m. of gas [file]

Leviathan 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of Albatross)

The Homer Ferrington rig is currently drilling in the Leviathan partners’ license and it is not clear if it will be available to drill in February 2012.

It is unclear when Leviathan partners Noble Energy Inc., Delek Group Ltd. units Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling LP and Ratio Oil Exploration will transfer the Homer Ferrington drilling rig to their competitors, the partners in Myra and Sarah wells. It seems that this issue is becoming more and more controversial the closer the drilling date becomes.

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The Homer Ferrington rig is due to undertake two exploratory drilling projects in the Myra and Sarah licenses in February 2012, according to an announcement made by the Emmanuel Energy and Modiin Energy LP partnership. However, there was no mention of this in Avner partnership announcement on Sunday morning.

“The Homer rig is due to return to drilling as part of the partnership’s project in Israel’s economic waters,” the announcement said. Moreover, Globes has learned that the agreement that was signed with the Homer rig allows Noble Energy, Delek Group and Ratio to begin additional drilling during the first quarter of 2012.

The significance of additional drilling is that that the Homer rig would continue working with Delek Group, Ratio and Noble Energy until the end of the second quarter of 2012, for example if the Leviathan 1 drilling project is renewed. However, Emmanuel and Modiin continue to state that the Homer rig will transfer to them at the beginning of February 2012 at the latest.

The Homer rig is the busiest of the three drilling rigs currently operating in Israeli waters. The rig, owned by Noble Corporation (not to be confused with Noble Energy), began exploratory drilling at the end of August 2011 in Noble Energy’s Block 12 in Cypriot waters. In November 2011, after it concludes drilling at Block 12, the Homer rig will complete the development of the small North Noa field, which is expected to augment natural gas flow to the Israeli grid in 2012.

The big question is: What will the Homer rig do after it finishes developing the Noa field?

The Myra and Sarah partners agree that Delek Group and Noble Energy have the right to engage in additional drilling with the Homer rig. However, they claim that in any event the rig may not remain in their possession after the beginning of February.



Delek Group and Noble Energy say that the only acceptable reason for delaying the transfer of the rig would be if there is a significant hitch that would prevent a delay in completing the drilling. “There have not been any changes in the previously published drilling schedule,” Myra and Sarah representatives told Globes on Sunday.


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