All five production wells in the Tamar field would be fully operational by January 2013, said Lawson Freedman, Noble’s Vice President for the Eastern Mediterranean, at the Israel Energy and Business Convention 2012 held in Tel Aviv on 28-29 October. But despite this step forward, the failure of the Israeli Land Development Company-led (ILDC Energy) consortium to find any gas in the Sara and Myrah license blocks has been a blow for the emerging industry, especially after the $150mn outlay.

The fields were considered by many to be a ‘safe bet’ – the consortium had shot detailed seismic over the offshore area in June 2011, a year before the drilling begun on the Myrah block. The results indicated a high probability (between 50-90%) of as much as 6.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) or 182bn cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas and 150mn barrels of oil. Ofer Nimrodi, the Israeli tycoon who owns ILDC and controls 42% of the Sara and Myrah consortiums, was sufficiently confident to persuade his partners and South Korea’s Daewoo to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on hydrocarbon exports. But while the principal shareholders of the consortium, ILDC and Modiin, saw their share prices tumble 61% and 46% respectively a day after the Sarah dry well was announced, the development needs to be seen in context. (CONTINUED - 1009 WORDS)