Israel news photo: Flash 90
Initial drilling confirms that a huge gas field has been found off Israel's Mediterranean shore. The amount of natural gas in the Leviathan gas field is estimated at 450 billion cubic meters - almost twice the size of the previous large gas discovery at the Tamar field. The find was announced in June but the size could not be confirmed until now.
About one month ago, the partners in the drilling project reached their target layer in an underwater geological structure 135 km west of Haifa. The Sedco Express rig drilled through 1,634 meters of water and penetrated to 5,100 meters under sea level. When it reached a layer of sand, advanced geological tests were conducted, and their results confirmed the presence of the gas.
One of the partners, Delek Energy, said Wednesday that of all the gas fields discovered in deep waters worldwide in the last ten years, the Leviathan is the largest
"This is happy news for the Israeli energy market, and the results have great economic and strategic importance," it said.
Trading in stocks of drilling partners "Delek Drilling," "Avner Oil Searches" and "Ratio" were halted earlier Wednesday, after they announced they would issue a "meaningful report."
"We have received the most important energy-related news since the founding of Israel, that will undoubtedly bring a blessing and have a meaningful influence on many fields [of endeavor] in Israel," Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau said glowingly Wednesday.
If Israel handles itself properly, he predicted, it can use the gas to become a supplier of gas in the Middle East. The finds "will enable Israeli citizens to enjoy clean, cheap electricity production, and the income the state can expect following these discoveries."