Drilling for oil and gas (illustrative)
Drilling for oil and gas (illustrative) Flash 90

A newly discovered field off Israel's coast may have a significant amount of light crude oil – the kind of oil that international producers use to make most of the world's gasoline. The Shemen company informed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Monday that the Yam 3 field, where drilling has been going on for several months, shows signs of light crude under the sea bed, at a depth of about 5,500 meters.

So far, the oil field appears to be have a depth of about 90 meters, although drilling is continuing. Drillers have also seen strong signs of natural gas as well. There was no numerical estimate on the amount of oil or gas that might be in the field.

Shemen said that it would wait until the drilling project was finished before determining whether to commercially develop the field.

If the field is commercially viable, it could be an important one for Israel. Light crude is the most popular among oil refiners, and its properties make if preferable for refining into gasoline and diesel fuel. It fetches a higher price than heavy crude on commodity markets.