Israeli oil drilling company Shemen Oil and Gas Resources Inc. said late Sunday that a promising offshore well in the Mediterranean Sea does not contain any oil. After drilling to 18,700 feet under the sea, at a total cost of about $175 million, it found after extensive production tests that the Yam 3 well was dry.
In late August, the company, whose chairman is former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, said that preliminary tests of the well — located about 10 miles off the coast of Ashdod — showed it could contain up to 120 million barrels’ worth of oil.
The production test will only be finalized once all the equipment is removed from the well, Globes reported, leaving a “a small chance” that a technical failure was responsible for the data indicating a lack of oil or natural gas.
An independent seismic study had found that there was “a best estimate of 120 million barrels of oil in the license prospect, and a 36% chance of finding 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas” at Yam 3, the report said.
Israel has made several large natural gas discoveries on the Mediterranean coast in recent years, which are typically invested in by a combination of private Israeli companies, the government, and foreign interests.
According to Globes, the Yam 3 well is majority-owned by Shemen Oil (78 percent), along with Caspian Drilling Company of Azerbaijan (10%), Zerah Oil and Gas Explorations of Israel (7%) and Zmiha Investment House (5%), also Israeli.