Woodside Petroleum's bid to become an LNG exporter based in the Mediterranean has received a fillip after the Leviathan gas field partners yesterday said the massive discovery contained more hydrocarbons than initially thought.
A second appraisal well of the Leviathan field, off Israel, intersected 454 net feet of gas pay in multiple intervals, project operator Noble Energy said.
Describing it as the "thickest net pay of any well drilled to date at Leviathan", Noble said it was confident enough to increase the field's estimated recoverable resource to 18 trillion cubic feet.
The previous estimate, on which Woodside based its decision to invest up to $US1.25 billion ($1.22 billion) in return for a 30 per cent stake, was for a recoverable resource of 17tcf.
Leviathan is the biggest gas find in the world in the past decade. It also has the potential to supply much of Israel's domestic gas requirements for at least 20 years, although the Leviathan partners and Woodside are hoping to add an LNG operation to the local gas supply. The domestic gas component of Leviathan's field development is scheduled to be sanctioned later this year, for first gas flows by 2016.
Woodside had hoped to have settled terms of the farm-in by now but last month said the likely completion date had been pushed back to the end of June.
Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman, speaking to reporters at the IHS CERAWeek industry gathering in Houston yesterday, said he remained confident the farm-in would receive all the necessary approvals and shrugged off a probe by Israel's Antitrust Authority into the Leviathan partners.The authority's year-long probe, which is nearing its conclusion, is focused on the marketing power Noble and fellow Leviathan partner Delek Group will have on Israel's gas market given they are also the controlling partners in the 9tcf Tamar field. There is talk in Israel that the authority may demand a restructure of the ownership of Leviathan and Tamar if it deems the current set-up to be cartel-like. Although regarded as the most drastic intervention by the authority, it is thought to be contributing to the hold-up of Woodside's Leviathan farm-in.
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