Leviathan gas field

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Leviathan gas field
Leviathan gas field is located in Eastern Mediterranean
Leviathan gas field
Location of the Leviathan gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean
RegionEastern Mediterranean Sea
LocationLevantine basin
BlocksRachel & Amit
Coordinates33°10′04″N 33°37′02″E / 33.16778°N 33.61722°E / 33.16778; 33.61722Coordinates: 33°10′04″N 33°37′02″E / 33.16778°N 33.61722°E / 33.16778; 33.61722
OperatorChevron Corporation
PartnersDelek Drilling (45.33%)
Ratio Oil Exploration (15%)
Chevron Corporation (39.66%)
Field history
DiscoveryDecember 2010
Start of productionDecember 31, 2019
Estimated gas in place35,000[1]×10^9 cu ft (990×10^9 m3)
Recoverable gas22,000[1]×10^9 cu ft (620×10^9 m3)
Producing formationsTamar sands

The Leviathan gas field is a large natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel,[2] 47 kilometres (29 mi) south-west of the Tamar gas field.[3] The gas field is roughly 130 kilometres (81 mi) west of Haifa in waters 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) deep in the Levantine basin, a rich hydrocarbon area in one of the largest offshore natural gas field finds.[4][5][6] According to some commentators, the gas find has the potential to change Israel's foreign relations with neighboring countries, including Turkey, and Egypt.[7] Together with the nearby Tamar gas field, the Leviathan field is seen as an opportunity for Israel to achieve energy independence in the Middle East.[8]

As of 2017, even by conservative estimates, Leviathan holds enough gas to meet Israel's domestic needs for 40 years.[9][10] The field began commercial production of gas on 31 December 2019.[1]


Boundaries of the Levant Basin, or Levantine Basin (US EIA)

The potential for a natural gas prospect at the Leviathan site was identified by geologist Eitan Aizenberg, co-founder of the small Israeli oil exploration company Ratio.[11] To assist with exploring the prospect Ratio enlisted the cooperation of another Israeli firm, Delek, who then brought in Texas-based Noble Energy to the venture – with whom it had previously developed the small Mari-B offshore gas field in southern Israel under the Yam Tethys partnership.[11]

In July, 2010, Noble Energy announced that seismic studies indicated there was a 50% chance of the Leviathan field containing natural gas, with the potential reserve size being estimated at 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic metres).[12] The initial exploration well, Leviathan 1, was drilled to a depth of 5,170 metres (16,960 ft) and the discovery was announced on December 30, 2010.[13] The cost of drilling the exploration well was $92.5 million.[14] The well was drilled by the Homer Ferrington rig.[15]

The second stage of drilling of the Leviathan 1 well was intended to reach a depth of 7,200 metres (23,600 ft), which would include an additional natural gas reserve and potentially 600 million barrels of oil.[16] While the gas discovery at -5170m was made in the Tamar sands layer which was already known to contain gas, the additional oil and gas potential exists in layers that have not been explored in the Levant basin. Noble has twice failed to reach the deeper layers due to technical challenges with drilling to the extreme depths involved. However, during drilling towards the intended target some gas was detected and as of 2012 Noble still had plans to explore those layers.

The Leviathan gas field was the second largest gas field in the Mediterranean Sea after the August 2015 discovery of the Zohr field off the coast of Egypt, only 6 km from Cyprus's Block 11.[17][18][19] Chevron Corporation, which acquired Noble Energy in October 2020, operates Leviathan with a 39.66% working interest; Delek holds 22.67%; Avner Oil Exploration holds 22.67%; and Ratio Oil Exploration holds the remaining 15%.[5] In February 2014, Woodside Energy agreed to buy a 25% stake of the Leviathan field for up to US$2.55 billion.[20] It was announced on 21 May 2014 that Woodside Energy pulled out of an agreement to take a stake worth up to $2.7 billion in Israel's flagship Leviathan gas project, as the group developing the field shifted focus to regional markets.

In the summer of 2014, Netherland, Sewell & Associates (NSAI) made an upward revision on the amount of gas reserves, giving a 2P value of 621 BCM. The expected year of production was stated to be 2017.[21] In April, 2015, the Israel Ministry of Energy reported that it was working with NSAI and the Leviathan partners to understand the discrepancy between the NSAI revised estimate and the estimate provided by other analyses provided to the ministry, indicated a best estimate of only 16.5 tcf (470 BCM).[22]

On 19 October 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to allow major concessions for Gazprom to develop the Leviathan reserves.[23]

On 19 February 2018, The partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields signed $15 billion in deals to export natural gas to Egypt over 10 years. One accord calls for the sale of 3.5 BCM of natural gas annually from the Leviathan field, for a total of 32 BCM, estimating the sale from the Leviathan field to reach $7.5 billion.[24] Regarding the deal, the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, declared about the project : "Has a lot of advantages for us (Egyptians). And I want people to be reassured". Yossi Abu, chief executive of Delek Drilling, said: "I think that the main thing is that Egypt is becoming the real gas hub of the region".[25]

In September 2020, the owners of the field agreed to sell $190 million worth of natural gas to a power plant in Ramat Hovav.[26]

Inovo BV controversy[edit]

Inovo BV, the Dutch corporation owned by Kamil Ekim Alptekin, claims to be the sole Turkish representative in Ratio Oil Exploration.[27][28] Ratio has denied that it has any affiliation with Alptekin or Inovo BV, though BuzzFeed News has produced evidence documenting a relationship dating back to at least early 2016.[29][30]

Technical description[edit]

Gas production is carried out by four wells connected by two 18-inch, 73-mile subsea tiebacks to a natural gas processing platform located 10 km offshore Dor, Israel.[1] The processing platform has the capacity to handle up to 1.2 BCF of gas per day (12 BCM per year) and could be expanded to handle up to 2.1–2.4 BCF per day (21–24 BCM per year). Gas and condensate pipelines link the platform to an onshore reception station at Dor which is connected to the domestic Israeli gas and liquid fuels pipeline networks.

Rights dispute[edit]

The existence of the Leviathan gas fields poses several challenges to states in that area of the Eastern Mediterranean, in terms of cooperation between them, as well as for the wider Mediterranean energy context.[31] After discovery of the Leviathan gas fields in 2010, Lebanon argued that the field extends into Lebanese waters. Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri stated that Israel is "ignoring the fact that according to the maps the deposit extends into Lebanese waters," Agence France-Presse reported on June 9.[32] Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau responded "We will not hesitate to use our force and strength to protect not only the rule of law but the international maritime law," in an interview.[32] In August 2010, 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.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Noble Energy Announces First Gas From the Leviathan Field Offshore Israel" (Press release). Houston: Bloomberg News. Business Wire. 31 December 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  2. ^ Carpenter, Angela; Kostianoy, Andrey G. (6 May 2019). Oil Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: Part I: The International Context. Springer. p. 68. ISBN 978-3-030-12236-2.
  3. ^ "Noble Energy Announces Operational Update at Leviathan Offshore Israel" (Press release). PR Newswire. 29 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Gas Field Confirmed Off Coast of Israel". The New York Times. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Noble CEO: Leviathan is largest gas find in our history". Jerusalem Post. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Israel has enough gas 'to become exporter'". France 24. Agence France-Presse. 29 December 2010. Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  7. ^ Bozdas, Jacob (15 April 2014). "Israel in talks with Egypt, Turkey on major gas export deals". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  8. ^ Reed, John (6 November 2013). "Israel set to become major gas exporter". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Israel has a gas conundrum". The Economist. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  10. ^ Cohen, Ariel (19 February 2019). "Israel's Leviathan Energy Prize: Where Will The Gas Go?". Forbes.
  11. ^ a b Solomon, Shoshanna (18 April 2018). "Octogenarian geologist behind Israel's giant gas field eyes foreign waters". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  12. ^ Koren, Hilal (26 September 2010). "Leviathan may be three times larger than Tamar". Globes. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Noble Energy announces significant discovery at Leviathan offshore Israel". Offshore Energy Today. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
  14. ^ Ratio Oil Exploration Limited Partnership Annual Report 2010, p.74. (Hebrew version)
  15. ^ Schmidt, Kathrine (2 May 2012). "Leviathan well hits snag". Upstream Online. NHST Media Group.
  16. ^ Leviathan partners to raise gas reserves estimate Globes, 22 April 12 13:22, Hillel Koren
  17. ^ "Italy's Eni finds 'supergiant' natural gas field off Egypt". Associated Press. 30 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Deal signed with Total for further exploration". Cyprus Mail. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Total reportedly looking to extend license". Cyprus Mail. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Israel takes step towards becoming a gas exporter". Reuters. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  21. ^ Scheer, Steven; Goodman, David (13 July 2014). "Israel's Leviathan gas reserves estimate raised by 16 pct". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  22. ^ New report sees 20% less gas reserves in Leviathan Globes, 3 June 2015, Hedy Cohen
  23. ^ "Putin and Netanyahu to strike deal on Levianthan gas field". The Australian. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  24. ^ Solomon, Shoshanna. "Delek, Noble sign accords for $15b in sales of Israeli natural gas to Egypt". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Al-Sisi says Egypt 'scored a goal' with Israel gas deal". Ynetnews. 21 February 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  26. ^ Cohen, Tova (24 September 2020). "Leviathan to sell $190 million of natural gas to Israel's Ramat Hovav plant". Reuters.
  27. ^ Daragahi, Borzou (20 June 2017). "The Man At The Center Of This Trump Scandal Wants To Clear His Name". BuzzFeed News.
  28. ^ Rotlevy, Ligad (28 June 2016). "Ratio" (PDF). DocumentCloud. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  29. ^ Daragahl, Borzou (26 June 2017). "Evidence Ties Israeli Firm To Turkish Businessman At Heart Of Flynn Scandal, Despite Denials". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017. An Israeli energy firm says it "did not employ the services" of Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin. But photos, emails, and other documents show a relationship lasting nearly a year.
  30. ^ Azran, Eran (27 June 2017). "Report: Turk With Alleged Links to Michael Flynn Was Also Retained by Israeli Firm". Haaretz. Retrieved 27 June 2017. Ratio executives didn't respond to BuzzFeed queries but a spokeswoman for the company told TheMarker, the Haaretz business daily, that "the company never retained Mr. Ekim Alpetkin's services."
  31. ^ Farah, Paolo Davide; Tremolada, Riccardo (2015). "Offshore Natural Gas Resources in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Relations to the European Union: A Legal Perspective through the Lenses of MedReg". Journal of World Energy Law and Business. 8 (6). SSRN 2695964.
  32. ^ a b Jonathan Ferziger and David Wainer (24 June 2010). "Landau Says Israel Could Use Force to Shield Gas Find". businessweek. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  33. ^ Barak Ravid (10 July 2011). "U.S. Lebanon on maritime border dispute with Israel". Haaretz. Retrieved 30 January 2012.

External links[edit]