Noble Energy, senior partner in Israel’s promising Leviathan gas drill, has estimated that the oil reserves located under the site’s gas reserves may fill up to three billion barrels.

Noble’s only reservation is that the reservoir is located under a deep layer of rock, and it is unclear whether it can be fully depleted.

According to the company’s assessments, preliminary tests ahead of drilling will begin in October, at a cost of $150 million, and during the drilling a rig with more powerful drilling capabilities will be on standby.

The Leviathan gas reserves, located some 120 kilometers west of Israel, are believed to contain over 453 billion cubic meters with the probability of extracting gas from the site at fifty percent.

Partners in the drilling are Delek Group (45.34%), via the companies Avner Oil Exploration and Delek Drilling, RatzioYam (15%) with the remainder controlled by Noble Energy.

The YNet website reports that the total oil reserve in the world (as of 2006) is 1.3 trillion barrels, most of which is concentrated in the territory of less than 15 countries.