Dead Sea area contains oil worth NIS 1.2 billion – report

Stock of company licensed to drill at the site jumps 35% following publication

The Dead Sea (Oren Nahshon/Flash90)
The Dead Sea (Oren Nahshon/Flash90)

A new report released Sunday by Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP and filed with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange claimed an oil reservoir near the Dead Sea is worth NIS 1.2 billion ($320 million).

The study, conducted by the independent Australian-based Dunmore Consulting company, said that the Hatrurim area contains from seven to eleven million barrels of oil. According to Channel 2, the Israel Opportunity Energy Resources said the report indicates a 100 percent chance of striking oil at the site, which covers 94 square kilometers in the Dead Sea area.

In 1995, the Israeli Company Delek Group Ltd. struck oil in the area after drilling two kilometers under the surface. However, Israel Opportunity said on their website, the energy company decided not to continue its operations near the Dead Sea due to the low price of oil at the time.

Stock of Israel Opportunity, which was granted 25% of the Hatrurim license in December 2015, shot up 35% since the report’s publication on Sunday, according to the Israeli news site Ynet.

Along with Israel Opportunity, licenses to drill at the oil reservoir were granted to five other partners, according to the company’s website. They are three Israeli companies — Zerach Oil and Gas Exploration, LP (28.75%), Ashtrom Group Ltd (10%), and Ginko Oil Exploration, LP (28.75%) — along with Israeli geologist Eliyahu Rozenberg (2.5%) and Cyprus Opportunity Oil & Gas Exploration, Ltd (5%), which will become the first company listed in Cyprus to enter into Israel’s oil and gas market, according to Israeli news site Globes.

On a statement on its website, the partnership announced that it intends to re-enter the Halamish drilling site.

The new drilling program, according to the statement, is based on “the seismic survey results received from past drillings” and will be carried out using “advanced technologies.”

The “spud date,” or beginning of the drilling process, is slated to begin by November 1, 2017, the statement said.

Eyal Shuker, the CEO of Israel Opportunity, told Channel 2 his company is “excited about the findings and plan to prepare for drilling as soon as possible.”

“In an era when the field of oil and gas exploration in Israel is full of uncertainty,” Shuker added, “the partnership has been given the chance to enter a reservoir from which oil has already been produced.”

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