NEWS FROM EMGC 2014: Noble Energy signals readiness for "world changing" search for oil offshore Israel
BY PRAMOD KULKARNI, Editor
TEL AVIV – Not resting on the laurels of gas discoveries worth 40 Tcf in gross mean reserves, Noble Energy President and CEO Chuck Davidson is still eager for new discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean region, particularly in the deeper Mesozoic structures.
”There’s lot more exploration to go. We’re still in the early stages, with 3D seismic imaging ensuring a high success rate,” Davidson explained. “If you think natural gas was a game changer, oil discoveries will be a world changer.”
The oil window offshore Israel is located at 12,000-ft water depth and 40,000 TD. Drilling to such depths will require a new-generation drillship and more certainty about the potential oil markets. Noble had intended for the newbuild Atwood Advantage to drill in the Eastern Mediterranean late 2013, but the drillship was diverted to Noble’s deepwater Gulf of Mexico fields.
In his keynote address at the EMGC 2014 conference, Davidson confirmed the company’s commitment to Israel. “Israel is a core portion of Noble’s business. Projects offshore Israel will go on for decades. We intend to work side-by-side with Israel, helping with the country’s energy security and dramatically reducing the environmental impact through the use of natural gas for electric power generation.”
Davidson traced Noble’s history in Israel and the long road to success. “There were a few dry holes, but we persevered and made Israel’s first major discovery at Mari-B field.”
Next big discovery was Tamar, which started supplying Israel’s gas utilities in mid-2013. “Tamar production has been exceptional, reaching as high as 1 Bcfd' " Davidson exulted. "Because Tamar production was serving the domestic market, we could move very quickly.”
Noble caught world attention with the Leviathan discovery, which was twice the size of Tamar (29 Tcf vs.10 Tcf) . “Development of this field is going to require an external market for the gas and the certainty of policies and regulations,” Davidson admitted.
Noble and its partners are now expanding gas sales beyond Israel. About 66 Bcf of Tamar gas will be sold to Jordanian companies, Arab Potash and Jordan Bromne, starting in 2016 for an initial term of 15 years for use at their Dead Sea facilities.
To support possible LNG opportunities, Noble and its partners have brought in Australia-based Woodside Petroleum to serve as a 25% partner and operator of the LNG operations. Noble will continue as the upstream partner with a 30% stake. “Woodside brings more value because of its LNG expertise,” Davidson explained.
Continuing conference coverage. EMGC 2014 is the first international event in Israel with a global audience covering all segments of the oil and gas industry. The main conference program spans two days, March 11–12, and includes presentations from high-level executives of prominent companies operating in the region, as well as from Israeli and Cypriot government representatives.
Stay tuned to WorldOil.com, HydrocarbonProcessing.com and GasProcessingNews.com for more media coverage of this groundbreaking event for Israel and for the regional gas industry.