Drill Ship Arrived in Israel: Leviathan Production Well Drilling Shall Start Beginning 2022

Stena Forth drill ship has reached its drilling location in offshore Israel, where the 5th production well of Leviathan field will take place.

Chevron, the operator of the Leviathan field, and its partners will drill a fifth production well at Israel’s Leviathan natural gas and gas-condensate field to keep production ahead of rising demand, driven by exports to Egypt’s and Jordan.

Chevron has moved up drilling plans to early 2022 to boost production after demand for the field’s gas rose during 2021.

Field operator Chevron holds a 39.66% stake in Leviathan following its acquisition a year ago of Noble Drilling. Chevron’s partners are Israeli E&P partnership Delek Drilling (a subsidiary of Delek Group) which owns the majority 45.34% share and the Israeli limited partnership, Ratio Oil and Gas (15%).

The deep-water field, 125 km west of Haifa, has estimated reserves of 649 Billion Cubic Meters (Bcm) of natural gas and 41 million barrel of condensate, which Delek said represents two-thirds of total gas resources discovered in Israeli waters so far.

Production initiated in late December 2019 supplies Israel’s domestic market and is exported to Egypt and to Jordan. But it is Egypt’s demand that is driving Chevron to fast track Leviathan’s drilling program as Egypt pursues its ambition of becoming a hub for processing East Med gas. Exports to Jordan and Egypt accounted for 53% of Leviathan’s sales in the first half of 2021.

The Stena Forth drillship will drill the new production well (Leviathan 8) in the Leviathan North area.

Drilling will take about 4 months; its purpose is to supplement the four existing production wells in the Leviathan reservoir and to improve the redundancy in the production system.

The sea depth at the planned development and production well is 1620 m. The planned final depth of the drilling is 5300 m below the surface, according to Delek Drilling. The well will be connected to the existing subsea production system of the Leviathan Project.

Chevron’s recommendation was that new production wells need to be brought on stream sooner than expected as Leviathan’s annual run-rate had already hit 10.8 Bcm, exceeding the 10.2 Bcm forecast for 2021. Thus, the exports to Egypt had increased to 0.8 Bcm from 0.3 Bcm and sales to the Israeli domestic market had risen to 1.26 Bcm from 0.73 Bcm.

To keep gas flowing to Egypt as the region matures, Chevron, along with its Leviathan and Tamar partners, agreed in January to invest $235 million so that Israel Natural Gas Lines Ltd. could lay a new subsea pipeline and expand existing pipeline infrastructure to ensure an annual capacity of 7 Bcm.

Drilling the Leviathan new well will take about four months. It will be carried out by the Stena Forth drill ship, which according to Chevron meets the requirements of the Petroleum Commissioner in the Ministry of Energy and of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Delek reported it was on track to produce 10.8 billion cubic metres in 2021 from Leviathan, up from its forecast of 10.2 Bcm.