The capacity of natural gas fields at the Tamar I drilling site off the coast of Haifa have exceeded the most optimistic expectations.- for a second time.

The natural gas reserves found at the site are 16 percent more than estimated, according to an independent report released by Noble Energy, which owns 36% of the field under exploration.

Noble Energy also operates the drill site on behalf of a conglomerate of partners, including Texas-based petroleum company Netherland, Sewell and Associates. The site is located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of Haifa.

Israeli partners in the well include Isramco Negev 2, which owns 28.75%, Delek Drilling, which has 15.625%, Avner Oil Exploration with 15.625% and Dor Gas Exploration, which owns 4%.

Shares rose in response to the announcement at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

Tests by an outside consultant have revealed 207 billion cubic meters of gas. The previous estimate of 178 billion, made a month ago, was already 30 percent higher than original estimates.

"There is already enough Israeli made natural gas to provide for the county's needs for years to come, said Avner CEO Gideon Tadmor and Delek CEO Tzvi Greenfield in a joint statement.

They said that the group plans to "determinedly seek out additional reserves in our many licenses along the coast," pointing out the discoveries free the Jewish State from dependence on foreign energy sources.