The Yam Thetis consortium said its ability to produce natural gas at its Mary-B well off Israel’s southern Mediterranean coast has declined and a further drop is expected by Noble Energy, the project’s operator.
The Israeli partners in the consortium — Delek Drilling and Avner Oil — said on Tuesday they were studying the implications of this drop in production as well as what measures they might be able to take to narrow this decline.
“This drop in supply is expected to have a negative effect on the financial results of the partnership until the start of commercial production from the Tamar project, which is expected in the first half of 2013,” the companies said, adding they could not yet estimate the size of the impact.
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The companies did not quantify the production decline at the Mary-B well.
Texas-based Noble Energy leads the group developing the Tamar prospect, which contains an estimated 9.1 trillion cubic feet of gas. A nearby site, Leviathan, is nearly twice as large and due to be online around 2017.
In the meantime, Yam Thetis said it is going ahead with the development of the Noa North field with an estimated 1.2 billion cubic meters of gas as well as examining the development of small satellite wells.
Mary-B, Israel’s first natural gas field, has been depleted faster than expected and is projected to run out this year, as Israel has been forced to compensate for a lack of Egyptian gas. The supply of natural gas from Egypt has been disrupted after the pipeline to Israel was blown up by militants 10 times in the past year.
State utility Israel Electric Corp has been forced to increase its use of more expensive alternatives such as diesel and fuel oil. A recent cold snap has aggravated the situation, leaving the electric company with few reserves.
The use of gas in Israel has quadrupled since 2004, and is now the primary source for generating electricity.
Noble owns 47 percent of Yam Thetis while Delek Drilling holds 25.5 percent and Avner 23 percent.