Tamar gas field

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Tamar gas field
Tamar gas field is located in Israel
Tamar gas field
Location of Tamar gas field offshore Israel
Country Israel
Location Levant basin
Eastern Mediterranean Sea
Block Matan licence
Offshore/onshore offshore
Coordinates 33°04′42″N 33°57′05″E / 33.07833°N 33.95139°E / 33.07833; 33.95139Coordinates: 33°04′42″N 33°57′05″E / 33.07833°N 33.95139°E / 33.07833; 33.95139
Operator Noble Energy
Partners Noble Energy (36%)
Isramco Negev 2 LLP (28.75%)
Delek Drilling (15.625%)
Avner Oil Exploration (15.625%)
Dor Gas Exploration (4%)
Service contractors Aker Solutions
Field history
Discovery January 2009
Start of production 30 March 2013[1]
Current production of gas 985×10^6 cu ft/d (27.9×10^6 m3/d)
Year of current production of gas 2013
Estimated gas in place 307×10^9 m3 (10.8×10^12 cu ft)
Producing formations Tamar sands

The Tamar gas field is a natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel. The field is located in Israel's exclusive economic zone, roughly 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of Haifa in waters 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) deep. While there have been small oil and gas discoveries in Israel over the decades, Tamar was the first large-scale hydrocarbon resource discovered in the country. It was also the first gas discovery made in geological layers dating back to the OligoMiocene era in the up-until-then little-explored Levant basin of the Eastern Mediterranean. Since Tamar's discovery, large gas discoveries have been made in other analogous geological formations of the same age in the region. Since Tamar was the first such discovery, these gas containing formations have become collectively known as Tamar sands.


Known oil and gas fields in the Levant Basin (US EIA)

In 1999, Israel's Oil Commissioner granted BG Group preliminary exploratory permits to deep-sea blocks that included the Tamar field. In December 2000, BG received an exploratory license, in a partnership that included three Israeli industrial companies, Mashav, Dror Chemicals, and Israel Petrochemical Enterprises.[2] In May, 2001, Mashav left the partnership and BG brought in STX, Isramco, Clal Industries, and Granit-Sonol, the latter two leaving the partnership in 2004.[3]

In December 2001, BG completed 3D seismic studies that indicated the potential of the Tamar field and of the adjoining Dalit field. BG recommended drilling an exploratory well at an estimated cost of $40 million.[4]

In May 2002, the BG license was extended by the Oil Commissioner, on the condition that drilling begin no later than September 2003. In February 2003, the Commissioner extended the deadline to December 2004, and in December 2004 a further extension was given to June 2005.[5] During this period, BG conducted negotiations for selling gas to the Israel Electric Company.[6]

In April 2005, BG announced that it was abandoning its stake.[7] According to some reports, BG quit after being unable to conclude an agreement to supply gas to the Israel Electric Company.[8] (Israel in mid-2005 reached an agreement to receive gas from Egypt for $2.75/mmbtu, a price that BG stated it was not willing to match.[9]) In May 2005, the Oil Commissioner extended the license to December 2006 and allowed the remaining partners, STX, Isramco, Dor Exploration, and Dor Chemicals to bring in the Delek-owned partnerships, Avner and Delek Drilling, on the condition that a contract for drilling be concluded by June 2006. (According to one source, Avner bought its stake from BG for one dollar[10]).

Noble Energy joined as operator in 2006.[11] In 2006, the license was extended to December 31, 2008, despite the failure to begin drilling, and despite the seven-year limit on oil licenses set by Israel's Oil Law. Isramco reported in 2006 that exploratory drilling was expected to cost $69 million.[12]

Drilling of Tamar 1 began in November 2008 and was drilled to a depth of 4,900 metres (16,100 ft). The partners announced the discovery on January 17, 2009. The final cost of drilling three exploratory wells (two for Tamar and one for Dalit) was $274 million.[13][14]

The field is considered to have proven reserves of 223 billion cubic metres (7.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas and is estimated to contain an additional 84 BCM of probable reserves and 49 BCM of possible reserves.[15][14][16] At the time of discovery, the field was the largest find of gas or oil in the Levant basin of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the largest discovery by Noble Energy. Production began in April, 2013.

In September 2010, Noble announced that development of the Tamar field was beginning at an expected cost of $3 billion.[17] In March 2012 the Tamar partners signed a 15-year, US$14 billion deal with the Israel Electric Corporation to supply it with 42 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas, with an option to increase the gas purchases up to $23 billion. By March 2012, the consortium developing Tamar had signed deals worth up to a total of $32 billion with six Israeli companies, committing up to 133BCM.[18][19] According to a study commissioned by the government, the prices set were significantly higher than the price that would be demanded under comparable circumstances elsewhere.[20]

Langotsky claims[edit]

An early promoter of the project was Israeli oil geologist Joseph Langotsky, who named the Tamar and Dalit fields after his daughter and granddaughter. Langotsky sued his former partner, mining tycoon Benny Steinmetz. Langotsky and Steinmetz were the owners of a limited partnership, STX, which had a 5% stake in the exploration rights. Langotsky claimed that Steinmetz dropped out of the partnership two months before drilling began, causing Langotsky to lose his rights to the fields.[21] After a long legal battle, in July 2013 the courts ruled in Langotsky's favor, ordering Steinmetz to pay him the sum of NIS 50 million (appx. US$14 million) in compensation.[22]

Maritime border with Lebanon[edit]

Following the discovery in 2009, some Lebanese leaders, particularly officials of the Lebanese Shi'a Islamist group Hizbullah made statements threatening Israel against developing the sites, and Israeli officials made counter threats against Lebanese intervention.[23] In August 2010, the issue was largely resolved when Lebanon submitted to the United Nations its official view regarding the maritime border, indicating that it considered the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields to be outside Lebanese territory (though it indicated other prospective fields in the region may be within Lebanese territory). The US expressed support for the Lebanon proposal.[24]


Production is carried out by five wells connected by a 93 mile long subsea double pipe tie-back to a gas processing platform located offshore Ashkelon. First gas delivery took place on 31-March-2013 after four years of development work. The total initial delivery capacity is 985 MMCF per day or 10 BCM annually. Current contracts completely utilize this entire capacity. Therefore, an upgrade of the supply infrastructure from the processing rig to the onshore reception station in Ashdod is planned by 2016. In the first phase, capacity will be increased to approximately 1,200 MMCF/day and later to approximately 1,500 MMCF/day, with the latter upgrade possibly including the usage of the now-depleted Mari-B field, located nearby Tamar's processing platform, as a gas storage reservoir.[citation needed]

Export plans[edit]

Delek Energy held talks on exporting natural gas from Tamar to Cyprus and to South Korea. Shipments to Asia would be by Liquified Natural Gas, for which a floating liquefied natural gas terminal would be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, with Front-end engineering of the terminal to be done by Höegh LNG.[25][26] In March, 2013, Israeli Minister of Energy, Uzi Landau issued a notice to the Tamar partners not to proceed with signing export contracts until it is granted permission to do so by the Israeli government.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Solomon, Shoshanna; Ackerman, Gwen (30 March 2013). "Israel Begins Gas Production at Tamar Field in Boost to Economy". Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Israel Government Reshumot, #4953.
  3. ^ Israel Government Reshumot, #4989 and #5359.
  4. ^ BG Group to invest $40 million on drilling off Haifa Coast (Hebrew)
  5. ^ Isramco Negev 2 Limited Partnership FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AS AT DECEMBER 31, 2004, 10-K,· EX-99.1
  6. ^ IEC confirms negotiating natural gas contract with Isramco, BG.
  7. ^ Isramco Negev 2 Limited Partnership FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AS AT DECEMBER 31, 2005, 10-K,· EX-99.1
  8. ^ March 2005, BG announced that it was quitting the Gal natural gas partnership.
  9. ^ BG says it will not return to Israel (Hebrew).
  10. ^ "Tamar-Mor". globes. 
  11. ^ Isramco Negev 2 Limited Partnership FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AS AT DECEMBER 31, 2006, 10-K,· EX-99.1
  12. ^ Isramco Negev 2 Limited Partnership FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AS AT DECEMBER 31, 2006, 10-K,· EX-99.1
  13. ^ Delek Energy web site.
  14. ^ a b Haifa Gas Discovery Bumped to 5 Trillion Cubic Feet Oil In Israel, 10 February 2009
  15. ^ "Tamar Reserves Update". Isramco Negev 2, LP. 1 February 2014. p. 2. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Tamar offshore field promises even more gas than expected". Haaretz. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  17. ^ Tamar Development Begins.
  18. ^ Katzowitz, Guy (24 March 2012). "Daewoo to Liquify Gas from Tamar". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  19. ^ Noyman, Nadav (23 March 2012). "Isramco: Tamar Gas Potential Upped to 9.71TCF". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  20. ^ BarEli, Avi. "Consultants: IEC paying too much in gas deal with Tamar partnership". 
  21. ^ Oil in Israel
  22. ^ Barkat, Amiram; Ma'anit, Chen (3 July 2013). "Steinmetz to pay Langotsky NIS 50m compensation for Tamar". Globes. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  23. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3910329,00.html
  24. ^ Barak Ravid (2011-07-10). "U.S. backs Lebanon on maritime border dispute with Israel". Haaretz. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  25. ^ Baron, Lior (April 1, 2009). "Tamar partners in talks on exporting gas to Cyprus". Globes. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  26. ^ Barkat, Amiram (December 4, 2011). "Daewoo hires Hoegh to design Tamar floating gas terminal". Globes. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  27. ^ Yeshayahou, Kobi (March 12, 2013). "Energy minister warns Tamar partners not to sign export deals". Globes. Retrieved 21 March 2013.