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More Oil Discovered in Israel; New Searches Planned, Minister Hints

A second strike in Israel’s first well at Heletz was made this morning. The new oil layer is 16 feet deep–more than four times the thickness of the first layer struck about two weeks ago. A joint statement issued by the Lapidot Oil Co. and Israel Oil Explorers–the two concerns drilling at the Heletz site–said that a “Johnston test” was applied at 8 A.M. this morning, Israel time. The test produced oil gas at 8:30 A.M. and the oil began to spurt up at 9 A.M. The oil was immediately diverted to special reservoirs.

The new layer of oil was struck at a depth of 4,965 feet, about 50 feet deeper than the initial strike. First tests of the new oil strike indicated that the two layers were not connected and the new oil appeared better than the first, thicker and darker. Samples of the oil have been taken to the Weizmann Institute, where analysis will determine its exact composition.

In Jerusalem, Minister of Development Dov Joseph told newsmen at a special press conference that the new strike would encourage new oil searches elsewhere. He added that the test had produced a huge gusher which was still flowing and which had been diverted to reservoirs about 80 feet from the boring hole–thus demonstrating the strong pressure under which the oil was now flowing. Mr. Joseph said it was not yet possible to state the well’s output or the exact extent of the oil field, but that both would be determined in the course of regular pumping operations. These operations, he added, would start in a few days, as soon as certain special tools had been obtained.

It was also reported that “Shlumberger tests” carried out during the night had indicated that the start of the layer was considerably deeper than the 16 feet announced in the official communiques of the strike. Work on new drillings in the Heletz area, it was also reported, will begin in the next few days.

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