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Exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, Offshore Israel – Ongoing Success and Future Challenges

Michael Gardosh

Exploration activity offshore Israel during 2011 and 2012 resulted in an increase of the total recoverable gas reserves to about 30 TCF. As exploration efforts continue, the previously under-explored Levantine Basin in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea is being revealed as one of the most prolific petroleum province of the region.

In the past decade two gas plays have been identified, the Yafo Sand in the southeastern part and the Tamar Sands in the northern part of the Levantine Basin. Recent activity in the Lower Pliocene, Yafo Sand Play include the development of the Noa field, discovered in 1999, and the discovery of additional gas reserves in the ‘Pinnacle Area’ in the western part of the MariB field. Drilling in the Oligo-Miocene, sub-salt Tamar Sands Play resulted in the discovery of the Dolphin, Tanin and Aphrodite gas fields. Gas that was recently discovered in the Shimshon-1 well marks a new, sub-salt sand play in the southern part of the Levantine Basin. Although large amounts of gas were found in Upper Cenozoic turbidite sands offshore Israel the sources of the gas, the origin of the sands and their distribution and depositional patterns are not well resolved.

Oil was previously discovered in the Levantine Basin in the Mesozoic, Yam and Yam Yafo structures that were drilled during the 1990’s, 20 to 30 km west of the coastline. New, 3D seismic surveys were recently shot in the area and several drilling campaigns are planned, in order to test the commerciality of these fields as well as to discover new oil accumulations in other Mesozoic structures.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90161©2013 AAPG European Regional Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 April 2013