A string of recent giant gas discoveries in Israeli, Egyptian and Cypriot waters in the Eastern Mediterranean have heightened interest in this previously relatively overlooked area. Encouraged by these, the Israeli Ministry of Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources (MIEWR), the government agency responsible for overseeing all petroleum-related activities in Israel, is planning a roadshow to introduce interested companies to the areas which will be offered in its first ever licence round. The roadshow commenced in September and the round is expected to be formally opened in November 2016 and to close in March 2017.
Holding a licensing round represents a new approach for Israel, which until 2012 accepted applications for exploration and development of areas from IOCs without using specific formal offerings. The round will reopen exploration in Israel’s waters after four years of inactivity while the country prepared to offer the new licences.
The Israeli blocks lie in the Levant Basin, where an independent report by Beicip-Franlab has estimated that the yet-to-find potential in Mesozoic and Tertiary reservoirs could amount to 6.6 Bbo and 75 Tcfg. To date six fields have been discovered in Israeli waters, all gas, with a seventh one under review straddling the border with Cyprus. These fields include the 17 Tcfg (2C) Leviathan field, discovered in 2010, and the Tamar field, with about 10 Tcfg. Over the past 15 years Israel has moved from being a net importer of fossil fuels to becoming self-sufficient, and now provides more than 50% of its own electricity generation.
A total of 24 offshore blocks will be on offer in this first bid round, each being up to 400 km2, in water depths which range from 800 to 1,800m. Good data packages with spec seismic and historical well data and basin analyses are available, highlighting the potential of the blocks, where four potential plays have been identified, extending from the shallow margins in the east to the deeper part of the basin in the west. The Upper Miocene/Pliocene and Oligo-Miocene plays are considered to be only gas-prone, but there is potential for oil as well as gas in the Cretaceous and Jurassic plays.
IHS Markit is organising the Israeli offshore exploration licensing round roadshows, which are being held in London, Singapore and Houston. Interested E&P companies can meet the Israeli Minister of Energy and MIEWR staff, who will present the bid-round schedules and guidelines, the legal and fiscal terms, as well as a technical overview of the hydrocarbon potential of the nominated blocks and discuss the possible for monetising any discoveries.