Israeli oil drilling company Shemen announced Monday that it had discovered signs of large amounts of natural gas and possibly petroleum off Israel’s port city of Ashdod. According to early estimates, the reservoir may contain as much as 120 million barrels’ worth of oil.
“Although drilling in the target strata has not yet been completed, preliminary analysis of the information gathered, including electrical logging, suggests that the upper target strata containing hydrocarbons are of a thickness of about 90 meters,” read an official statement issued by the drilling company.
Electrical logging is a procedure designed to test deep-sea bedrock in order to determine its acoustic and radioactive physical properties as well as the types of liquid or gas it may contain within it. The thickness of the target stratum may be used to assess the amount of natural gas that can be extracted from the rock.
Shemen said oil drilling at the site would continue until it reached the bottom target stratum. The company said it would also continue to examine the site to determine the feasibility of ordering more comprehensive production tests.
The cost of production investigations is estimated at NIS 12 million ($3.3 million), Globes reported. Such tests are expected to be carried out over the course of a number of weeks.
Despite the announcement, the company noted that the drilling only provided initial indications, and there is still need for further information regarding the thickness of the strata, as well as the size and viability of the reservoir.
“The discovery of gas or petroleum traces does not indicate the existence of a ‘discovery’ as defined by law,” the company said.
Israel’s current projected natural gas discoveries amount to about 950 billion cubic meters.