‘Large amounts of liquid gas condensate, natural gas present in Karish reservoir’

New analysis reveals a newly promising natural gas reservoir likely contains approximately 13 million barrels of liquid natural gas condensate.

July 14, 2013 21:04
3 minute read.
Tamar natural gas rig.

Tamar natural gas rig 370. (photo credit: Albatross)

A newly promising natural gas reservoir, just north of the giant Leviathan basin, likely contains approximately 13 million barrels of liquid natural gas condensate in addition to the nearly 51 billion cubic meters of natural gas itself found there, a new analysis revealed on Sunday.

The analysis, conducted by the firm Netherland, Sewell – Oil & Gas Engineering Consulting Services on behalf of the reservoir’s stakeholders, showed that the newly attractive reservoir contains about 1.8 trillion cubic feet (51 b.cu.m.) of natural gas total – with 37 b.cu.m. in contingent reserves and an additional 14 b.cu.m. in prospective reserves.

While original projections before the analysis occurred estimated that up to about 2 trillion cubic feet (57 b.cu.m.) could be found in the reservoir, such a large presence of natural gas condensate was a surprise to the entrepreneurs involved.

Condensate is a liquid, hydrocarbon by-product of natural gas extraction that can be “used as a raw material for the petrochemical industry” or for producing distillate – usable, refined oils – for the fuel industry, explained Yossi Abu, the CEO of Delek Drilling.

The price of a barrel of natural gas condensate is similar to the price of a barrel of oil, he added.

“This is a natural product of the process of condensing natural gas, and after minimal treatment it can be transferred to customers,” Abu said.

The Karish reservoir is located about 100 km. west of Nahariya and 75 km. northwest of Haifa in the Alon C drilling bloc of Israel’s Mediterranean waters.

Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration – both subsidiaries of the Delek Group – each hold a 26.5 percent share of the basin while Noble Energy owns 47%. Adjacent to Karish southward are the country’s 282 b.cu.m. Tamar and 535 b.cu.m. Leviathan reservoirs.

Despite the fact that Karish is roughly five times smaller than the Tamar reservoir, the amount of condensate likely found in Karish’s bounds is equivalent to that of Tamar, according to the Delek Group. All in all, there is an estimated 60 million barrels of condensate in the combined reserves of the Tamar, Leviathan and Karish basins, the group said.

“This is further proof of the power of the energy sector in Israel and the importance of continued exploration activities – that if we seek, we will find,” said Gideon Tadmor, chairman of Delek Drilling and CEO of Avner Oil Exploration. “A quantity of about 13 million barrels of condensate is significant and is good tidings for the Israeli energy market.”

Stressing the “positive momentum” that the economic potential of Israel’s gas finds has created for the state and its citizens, Tadmor likewise lauded the resource’s potential contribution toward energy independence.

In order to encourage future exploration and thereby additional gas and oil finds, the entrepreneurs believe that a stable export policy must be in place. While the government voted to approve a gas export policy on June 23 that called for maintaining 540 b.cu.m. of gas at home and thus restricting exports to 40% of the current reserves, opponents to this decision have taken the issue to the High Court.

Led by MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) and a range of Knesset members across the political spectrum, the petition argues that a decision on exports can only occur within the bounds of the Knesset.

Environmentalists, meanwhile, argue that more of the much less polluting natural gas must be reserved for the country’s domestic needs.

But without an export policy, many government officials and the corporate stakeholders in the fields argue that there will be no incentive for continued exploration.

“The condensate resources are a welcome surprise,” Abu said. “This is further proof that there is significant additional potential in the Israeli energy market and that the continued operation of oil gas and oil exploration will lead to the discovery of more natural gas, more condensate – and we hope that there will also be oil discoveries in the Israeli energy sector.”

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