Leviathan gas field
|Leviathan gas field|
|Region||Eastern Mediterranean Sea|
|Partners||Avner Oil and Gas (22.67%)|
Delek Drilling (22.67%)
Ratio Oil Exploration (15%)
Noble Energy (39.66%)
|Start of production||2019 (expected)|
|Producing formations||Tamar sands|
The Leviathan gas field is a large natural gas field located in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel, 47 kilometres (29 mi) south-west of the Tamar gas field. The gas field is located 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 world's larger offshore gas finds of the past decade. According to some commentators, the gas find has the potential to change Israel's foreign relations with neighboring countries Turkey, and Egypt. Together with the nearby Tamar gas field, the Leviathan field is seen as an opportunity for Israel to become a major energy player in the Middle East. As of 2017, even by conservative estimates, Leviathan holds enough gas to meet Israel's domestic needs for 40 years. The field is scheduled to come online by the end of 2019.
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. 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.
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). 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. The cost of drilling the exploration well was $92.5 million. The well was drilled by Noble's Homer Ferrington rig.
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. 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 largest gas field in the Mediterranean Sea until the August 2015 discovery of the Zohr gas field off the coast of Egypt, only 6 km from Cyprus's Block 11. Leviathan is the largest discovery in the history of Noble Energy. Noble Energy operates Leviathan with a 39.66% working interest; Delek Drilling holds 22.67%; Avner Oil Exploration holds 22.67%; and Ratio Oil Exploration holds the remaining 15%. In February 2014, Woodside Energy agreed to buy a 25% stake of the Leviathan field for up to US$2.55 billion. 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. 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).
Inovo BV controversy
Inovo BV, the Dutch corporation owned by Kamil Ekim Alptekin, claims to be the sole Turkish representative in Ratio Oil Exploration. 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. Ratio spokesperson Orit Teicher told The Daily Caller that documents alleging a relationship between Ratio and Inovo were forgeries.
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. 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. 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. 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.
- Energy Triangle
- Economy of Israel
- Sarah and Myra – two Israeli offshore drilling licences
- Block 12
- List of natural gas fields
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- Leviathan partners to raise gas reserves estimate Globes, 22 April 12 13:22, Hillel Koren
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- New report sees 20% less gas reserves in Leviathan Globes, 3 June 2015, Hedy Cohen
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- Daragahi, Borzou (June 20, 2017). "The Man At The Center Of This Trump Scandal Wants To Clear His Name". BuzzFeed News.
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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.
- Azran, Eran (June 27, 2017). "Report: Turk With Alleged Links to Michael Flynn Was Also Retained by Israeli Firm". Haaretz. Retrieved June 27, 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."
- Ross, Chuck (20 June 2017). "Forgery Allegations Made Against Michael Flynn's Turkish Lobbying Client". The Daily Caller. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017.
“The letter in question did not come from Ratio and therefore it is a forgery. Our response remains the same: Ratio did not employ the services of Mr. Ekim Alptekin,” Orit Teicher, a spokesperson for Ratio, told The Daily Caller.
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