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Tests Show Big Natural Gas Find Off Israeli Coast


Israel is hailing a recently discovered natural gas field off the Israeli coast, saying it could turn the country into a major exporter.

U.S.-based Noble Energy Wednesday confirmed that the so-called Leviathan gas field contains an estimated 450 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Noble said the field represents its biggest find ever, while Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau called the discovery "the most important energy news since the country was founded."

Some analysts say the find could be worth as much as $95 billion.

The undersea field covers an area of about 325 square kilometers, and is located about 130 kilometers off the coast of the port city of Haifa.

Noble Energy President David Stover said the Leviathan field could "position Israel as a natural gas exporting nation."

Noble plans to develop the field along with several Israeli companies and plans to do additional appraisals to determine how much natural gas is available.

Noble has also been exploring a separate undersea natural gas field nearby, called Tamar.

Tamar was the largest gas find in the world in 2009, but Leviathan is almost twice as big.

Noble Energy is also working with the Mediterranean island of Cyprus to tap natural gas reserves off its shores.

Earlier this month, Israel and Cyprus signed a deal defining the sea border between the two nations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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