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Monday, January 19, 2009

Israel energy firm reports major gas discovery in the Mediterranean

TEL AVIV — Israel has reported the discovery of large natural gas deposits off the Mediterranean coast.   

An Israeli company said three gas deposits were discovered 80 kilometers from the Israeli city of Haifa. Noble Energy, the company, said the deposit at the Tamar-1 well, drilled to a depth of nearly three miles, was much larger than expected, Middle East Newsline reported.

"This is one of the most significant prospects that we have ever tested, and appears to be the largest discovery in the company's history," Noble president Charles Davidson said.

The Israeli government, struggling with an energy shortage, has confirmed the discovery. Israeli National Infrastructure Minister Binymin Ben-Eliezer said the gas discovery could "change the face of Israeli industry."

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Noble, with 36 percent, holds the largest stake in the consortium to search for energy in the Mediterranean Sea. Another company was Delek Group, whose president, Yitzhak Tshuva, called the gas discovery "one of the biggest in the world."

"We will no longer be dependent [on foreign sources] for our gas, and will even export," Tshuva said. "We are dealing with inconceivably huge quantities. Israel now has a solution for the future generations."

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