Israeli Waters May Hold Large Oil Reserves

JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli partners in a U.S.-led consortium developing a natural gas field off the Mediterranean coast say that up to 4.2 billion barrels of oil may lie under the seafloor in Israeli waters.

If confirmed, the find would mark the first significant oil reserves for Israel.

The Delek Group said in a statement Sunday that there is a 17 percent chance of finding 3 billion barrels at a depth of 19,000 feet (5,800) and an 8 percent likelihood of finding 1.2 billion barrels about 4,600 feet (1,400 meters) deeper.

Analyst Amit Mor says energy firms usually drill if there is at least a 10 percent chance of success.

Delek is working with Texas-based Noble Energy Inc. in Israel's Leviathan natural gas field. Drilling is to start in October.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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