Next Oil Find Could Be Biggest Yet

YERUSHALAYIM -

The story of Israel’s offshore energy exploration isn’t over yet. In fact, the next big drilling project could provide the country with enough oil for 15 years, according to The Times of Israel

Noble Energy’s probe — four miles below the Mediterranean seabed later this year, the deepest in Israel’s history — has an estimated potential of 1.5 billion barrels of crude, enough to replace $10 billion a year of oil imports for a decade and a half.

“The economic impact on Israel would be far greater than that of natural gas,” David Wurmser, director of the Washington-based Delphi Global Analysis Group, said in an interview. “Finding the oil would mean big money for the Israeli companies and the government.”

The Houston-based Noble plans to start a well at the end of this year when a new drilling ship is delivered from South Korea.

“We believe there is potential for significant oil resources at this prospect and the basin,” Noble’s Susan Cunningham, senior vice president of exploration and business innovation, said in a recent statement.

Noble isn’t the only company in search of oil off the coast. Shemen Oil & Gas (SMOG) is hoping to hit an oil field thought to hold 120 million barrels by the end of August. Gabi Ashkenazi, former IDF chief of staff and now Shemen’s chairman, said that oil resources would be a boon to national security.

“If we are successful, it will be a strong push to the economy, and to the strategic objective to become energy independent,” said Ashkenazi.

Technological advances have been a key factor in energy finds.

“Thanks to advances in drilling technology,”  explained Yossi Abu, chief executive officer of Delek Drilling (DEDRL), “Israeli companies and their international partners can now reach greater depths that will enable oil exploration at lower geological levels than ever before.”