Israeli prospector says natural gas found offshore

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JERUSALEM (AP) — American and Israeli gas prospectors say they have discovered a large amount of offshore natural gas in Israeli waters near the Lebanese border.

Delek Group Ltd. announced the discovery to Israel's stock exchange Sunday. U.S.-based Noble Energy Inc. is partnering with Delek on the offshore drilling.

The prospectors say based on initial drilling results, they estimate the Tanin 1 well contains close to 1.3 trillion cubic feet.

The announcement comes as Israel's only existing production field, Yam Thetis, becomes close to depletion.

Israel discovered two much larger gas fields in 2009 and 2010, with estimated reserves of 25 trillion cubic meters of gas. Production is to begin in about a year.

At midday, Delek shares were up by 1.9 percent on the Tel Aviv exchange.

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