Test drilling at Israel's Leviathan gas deposit in the Mediterranean Sea has confirmed large gas reserves there, which allows Israel to begin exporting gas, the project operator, U.S. company Noble Energy, said.
Leviathan, located to the west of the Mediterranean port of Haifa, contains 450 billion cubic meters of gas, the company said, quoting the results of test drilling. Additional drilling will be carried out at the gas field to specify the figure, it said.
The discovery is believed to assure the country's energy independence and is likely to put an end to Russia's plans to export natural gas to Israel.
Gas extraction at Leviathan, which is 6.5 times the size of Tel Aviv, is expected to provide Israel with some $300 billion over the life of the field – one-and-a-half times the national GDP.
Noble Energy earlier said there was a 50 percent chance that test drilling would confirm Leviathan's estimated gas deposits.
In 2009, a U.S.-Israeli consortium discovered another large gas deposit 60 miles off the coast of Haifa, called Tamar. The Leviathan field is estimated to be twice that size.
Analysts say that altogether, the basin in the eastern Mediterranean to which those fields belong could contain an amount of gas equivalent to one-fifth of U.S. natural gas reserves.
Noble Energy holds a 39,66-percent stake in the Leviathan project, while Israeli Delek Energy's subsidiaries, Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, own 22.67 percent.
Another Israeli company, Ratio Oil Exploration, holds a 15-percent stake.
TEL AVIV, December 30 (RIA Novosti)