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Noble Energy Inc. (NBL - Analyst Report) announced the initiation of operations at the Tamar natural gas prospect located off the coast of Israel. Noble Energy is the major operator in Tamar owning 36% interest while Israel’s Isramco Negev holds 28.75%. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration are the minor stake owners carrying 15.625% interest each. The remaining 4% is retained by Dor Gas Exploration.

The Tamar field consists of five subsea wells, and each well have a maximum capacity flow of 250 Million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). Currently, all the wells are producing natural gas totaling 300 MMcf/d. Natural gas flows from the block and travels 90 miles to the Tamar platform near the current Mari-B prospect and then to the Ashdod onshore terminal.

Combined with the Mari-B field volumes, the existing sales figure stands at roughly 500 MMcf/d and is estimated to average around 700 MMcf/d for the remaining part of 2013. The Tamar development, however, has the ability to supply natural gas volumes of 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d).

Meanwhile, the company expects the block to reach full capacity at the peak summer season during third-quarter 2013. The aggregate reserve estimate of Tamar increased to 10 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) from 9 Tcf, on account of continuous drilling and reservoir analysis.

Noble Energy stands to benefit from the rising gas demand especially from Israel. Its Leviathan block in Eastern Mediterranean will further assist in meeting the surge in demand. The company is already in talks with the government and its partners for the approval of the next stage of development works at the Tamar and Leviathan prospects.

In early Mar 2013, the company reported a rise in the reserves volume to 18 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) due to positive appraisal results from the Leviathan play.  

Noble Energy’s multiple exploration programs in the U.S and overseas will allow it to remain in a full development mode in the coming quarters. The company strives on growth in reserves and its rising presence in the resource-rich regions of West Africa will ensure retention of a stable asset basket.

In domestic operations, Noble Energy’s New Ventures project in Nevada along with encouraging prospect from the Niobrara formation will help fetch substantial returns.

Presently, Noble Energy carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other oil and gas operators performing favorably and to look out for are Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) Range Resource Corp. (RRC - Analyst Report) and Zacks Ranked #2 (Buy) Quicksilver Resources Inc. (KWK - Analyst Report) and EPL Oil & Gas Inc. (EPL - Snapshot Report).

Based in Houston, TX, Noble Energy, an independent energy company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and marketing of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids in the United States and worldwide.

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