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American Firm to Start Drilling of Natural Gas Well in Israel

The Israel Negev Petroleum Corporation, an American-owned firm, will drill its first natural gas well within the next 30 days in partnership with the Naphtha Israel Oil Company at a location due west of the southern tip of the Dead Sea. This was announced here today by Douglas Ball, a Denver petroleum geologist who returned this week from inspecting the new Zohar natural gas field as a consultant for the Israel Negev Petroleum Corporation.

Mr. Ball, who predicted further discoveries in the Negev gas fields during the coming year, told a press conference here that the Zohar wells already in operation for the Naphtha Israel firm, had a production capacity of more than 30 billion cubic feet with a daily production rate of 15,000,000 cubic feet of natural gas. He said the most productive of the wells was the Zohar 4, tests on which were completed in October.

“The significance of the Zohar discovery,” Mr. Ball emphasized, “is that it proves there are hydrocarbons in the Eastern Negev.” Referring to the Arab boycott of firms doing business with Israel, Mr. Ball noted that, if it were not for political considerations, “the major oil companies, most of whom have close ties with the Arab world, would be interested in Israel’s prospects.”

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