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Leviathan well hits snag

Drilling at Noble Energy’s Leviathan-1 well has been stopped after the Homer Ferrington rig hit a high-pressure zone before reaching its target depth.

Noble Energy said the probe off Israel found gas shows at about 21,000 feet, but stopped drilling past 21,400 feet after encountering higher pressure.

The company will rework its drilling plan and pursue a rig prepared to tackle the higher pressure levels, Noble Energy said.

"Although the well did not reach the planned objective, we are encouraged by the possibility of an active thermogenic petroleum system at greater depths within this basin,” Susan Cunningham, a senior vice president at Noble Energy, said in a statement.

“We will integrate the data from the Leviathan deep well into our model to update our analysis and design a drilling plan specifically to test the deep oil concept.”

The Noble Corp. Homer Ferrington will stay onsite for planned production flow tests of previously encountered natural gas sands.

"We continue to believe there is potential for significant oil resources in this prospect and the basin," Cunningham added.

Noble Energy is operator and has a 39.66% interest in the Rachel and Amit licenses off Israel. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration have 22.67% interests each and Ratio Oil Exploration has 15%.