Noble Energy, the operator of the giant (16 tcf) Leviathan field announced on 11 November that the partners of the consortium have decided to go ahead with the drilling of a fourth exploratory well in the Rachel license area. This is also designed to function as a production well once it starts up in 2017-18 and will be necessary to complete the field’s mapping. Expected to be drilled in four months, the well will be located 125km to the west of Haifa and will reach a total depth of 5,300ms.

Estimated to cost around $110mn, the drilling will be confined to the evaluation of natural gas deposits and will not look for potential oil resources believed to be trapped in deeper reservoirs. Last month Noble and its partners said that their geological potential of finding oil deposits had climbed from 15% to 25% although at the same time they limited the estimated size of the potential reserves to anywhere between 0.21-1.49bn barrels of oil equivalent (boe). The initial estimate referred to a probable reserve basis of 3bn boe. (CONTINUED - 296 WORDS)