Oil drilling in southern Israel
Oil drilling in southern IsraelIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Hundreds of investors in the Givot Olam firm converged on Jerusalem Monday for the company's annual meeting.

The managers of the firms received loud applause from the investors, following a bonanza year in which a new drilling site near Rosh Ha'Ayin finally produced black gold.

The company's chief geologist, Tuvia Luskin, confirmed for investors the Meged 5 well has the potential to yield an estimated 1.5 billion barrels of crude after many fruitless years of search – a process he compared to the People of Israel's wandering through the desert on their way to the Land of Israel following the exodus from Egypt.

“For many years we drilled wells without success,” he said. “Megged 5 is an event like the giving of the Torah.”

Asked whether there is a chance the oil field may not be of any commercial value, he replied, “I was brought up to believe there are only two things that are certain in life: one is your trip to the World to Come, and the other is the necessity of paying taxes.” However, he added, the well is a commercial site.

Who's Who in Management

The exploration and production side of Givot Olam is run by a four-member partnership that includes three shareholders: Rosh Ha'Ayin Oil Exploration Limited, T-Oil and Gas Limited, and Har Kedem Petroleum Ltd. The fourth partner is Moshe Kelner, a businessman appointed to protect the interests of the public.

Rosh Ha'Ayin Oil Exploration Limited is represented by businessman Nogah Ben-David and attorney Shmuel Laurence Becker.

Ben-David is founder and manager of the Gold of Jerusalem, Ltd., worldwide jewelry manufacturer. Becker, an English immigrant, runs a private legal practice in Jerusalem dealing with real estate, inheritance and corporate matters. 

T-Oil and Gas Limited and Har Kedem Petroleum Ltd. Aare represented by Luskin, chief geologist of the firm and a “petroleum explorationist” who exercises full control over technical matters of the partnership.

Final Report Due in September

During 189 hours of flow during intermittent production tests at the site from July 4-20, Meged 5 produced 3,015 barrels of oil, some containing gas. The gas was equivalent to 90 barrels of oil per day.

The company estimates the Meged 5 production rate should reach at least 450 barrels a day. A final report on the size of the reservoir is expected on September 15.

The company's partners promised investors at the conclusion of the conference, “We have decided that we will donate 25 percent of the general partnership's profits from the crude to charity.”

Each participant at the conference came away with a jar of crude oil, and a jar of honey with which to celebrate the approach of the New Year. “Don't drink the oil,” quipped Samuel Becker, the company's director.