Leviathan partners refute government claim of smaller gas reserve

It’s a numbers battle now as members of the Leviathan natural gas consortium responded for the first time to news that the reservoir contains 20% less gas than originally estimated.

In joint public statement on Sunday to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy (39.66 percent Leviathan ownership), Delek Group subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration (each with 22.6 percent) and Ratio Oil Exploration (15%) refuted the Ministry’s latest estimate.

They held fast to their original estimates from independent oil and gas consultation company Netherland, Sewell and Associates Inc., and emphasizing that there has been no such change in the amount of resources at Leviathan. They maintain that the reservoir still contains 621 billion cubic meters of gas.

The Energy, Infrastructure and Water Resources Ministry said Thursday evening that Leviathan contains an estimated 500 BCM of natural gas, about 20 percent below the previously estimated 621 BCM, based on their own data and analysis from international company RPS Energy.

Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On said of the new figure that it was “yet another exposure of the shaky foundations upon which the gas outline is based.” She requested a meeting to be held on the issue in the Knesset’s Finance Committee.

“In these very days, the natural gas partners are signing long-term export contracts that will be almost impossible to get free from in the future,” she said, charging that they are promising to export more than what the reserves have.

Yossi Dorfman, head of the Gas Campaign group at student movement Green Course, said of the numbers dispute that the information was “hidden from the ministry for a long period of time, until the updated gas outline could be passed.” He called for the gas outline to be cancelled completely, saying it is not being done in the public’s interest.

The Ministry’s said that estimations are liable to change from time to time and thus, they will continue to measure the Leviathan reserve and provide updates.