Leviathan, located about 130 kilometers west of Haifa, expected to come online in 2017; reservoir’s stakeholders reviewing export options.

The Leviathan reservoir likely contains 16 percent more natural gas than previously estimated, the basin’s stakeholders reported to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday.

A recent assessment conducted by international oil and gas consulting firm Netherland, Sewell and Associates, Inc. (NSAI) indicated that rather than containing 535 billion cubic meters of gas, the reservoir probably contains about 621 of contingent resources. In addition, the evaluation showed a remarkable increase in the presence of natural gas liquid condensate in the reservoir – 39.4 million barrels rather than the previous estimate of 34.1 million barrels.

“We received today excellent tidings for the Israeli energy sector, which will ensure us energy independence for decades to come, and an expansion of export options, with all the accompanying economic and geopolitical benefits,” said Gideon Tadmor, chairman of Delek Drilling and CEO of Avner Oil Exploration, two of the companies involved in the reservoir’s development.

Leviathan, located about 130 kilometers west of Haifa, is expected to come online in 2017, and the reservoir’s stakeholders are reviewing export options for the basin. In June 2013, the Israeli government settled on an export cap of 40%, and the developers have already entered into some local export agreements with Palestinian and Jordanian firms for this reservoir and the neighboring Tamar basin. The Tamar reservoir has been online since March 2013.

Houston-based Noble Energy owns 39.66% in Leviathan, while Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration – subsidiaries of the Delek Group – each own 22.67% and Ratio Oil Exploration holds 15%.

“The dramatic increase in gas reserves in Leviathan grants us a great maneuvering area for various export options, and strengthens Israel’s stance as a leading player in the international energy map, with gas reserves of about 1,000,” said Yossi Abu, CEO of Delek Drilling.

The NSAI report showed that best estimates of the reservoir’s contingent resources were 621 of gas, while low estimates were 469 and high estimates were 751 This increase is due to the expansion and deepening of the database for the Leviathan natural gas field, which includes updated processing and analysis of three-dimensional seismic surveys, as well as laboratory analyses on various rocks and fluids from the reservoir, the partners said.