Significant natural gas discovery made off Israel's shore

The newly-found gas will be added to the previously discovered gas fields increasing Israel's energy independence.

April 15, 2019 19:36
2 minute read.
gas field

Energean's oil and gas producing complex at Prinos North Oil Field in Eastern Macedonia, Northern Greece. (photo credit: ENERGEAN)


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Greek energy producer Energean has discovered a further significant natural gas reserve off Israel’s coast, the company announced on Monday.

According to preliminary estimates, the latest discovery in the Karish North exploration field contains between 28 to 42 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas.

Publicly-listed Energean will now conduct further evaluations to further analyze resource potential and determine the liquids content of the discovery.

The newly found gas will be added to the 45 bcm already discovered at Karish, and an additional 22 bcm identified at the Tanin gas field, also managed by Energean.

“We are delighted to be announcing this significant new gas discovery at Karish North, which further demonstrates the attractiveness of our acreage offshore Israel,” said Energean CEO Mathios Rigas.

“We have already signed a contingent contract to sell 5.5 bcm of this new resource, and our strategy is now to secure the offtake for remaining volumes. We continue to see strong demand for our gas, which we believe will be supported by today’s announcement.”

Drilling of the initial phase of the Karish North field is now complete, the company said. Energean will now deepen the well to identify additional energy sources. Once completed, Energean will return to drilling the three development wells at the Karish Main natural gas field.

In December 2018, Energean signed a contract with the IPM Beer Tuvia power plant, 10 km. from the coast, to supply an estimated 5.5 bcm of gas. Future agreements are likely to focus on both local and major export markets.

The contingent contract, dependent on the results of Energean’s 2019 drilling program, is significantly more likely to be converted into a firm contract following Monday’s announcement, the company said.

“Following years of standstill, natural gas exploration resumed in Israel’s economic waters a month ago – and the company is already reporting an additional discovery,” said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz.

“I congratulate Energean on the large amount of natural gas that has appeared in Karish North. This is a prelude, which I am sure will herald further discoveries in the future. If you will it, it is no dream, and Israel will become a regional energy power.”

Until large discoveries of natural gas were made off Israel’s coastline in recent years, few perceived the historically natural resource-poor Israel to be a significant source of energy.

This perception started to change with the discovery of the Noa gas field off the shores of Ashkelon in 1999.

The discovery of more major natural gas fields in Israel since 2009, including Tamar and Leviathan, has transformed the Jewish state from an energy-dependent country into an energy supplier, both domestically and abroad.

Israel is now planning to supply former adversaries Jordan and Egypt with natural gas valued at $26 billion and plans to construct a 2,000-km. pipeline to supply Eastern Mediterranean gas to Europe.

In January, seven countries hoping to benefit from the region’s newly discovered resources, including Israel, established the Cairo-based Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum.

Several major energy firms, including American oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, are reportedly considering competing for a new round of offshore exploration rights, the second auction of its kind in Israel, with bids due to be submitted by June 17.

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