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Il 1.25 Billion to Be Spent During Next Five Years in Search for Oil

The Israeli government will spend IL 1.25 billion in a search for oil during the next five, years. The results will determine once and for all whether or not there is oil in Israel, Dr. Tzvi Dinstein, the government’s advisor on energy matters, said here.

Dinstein made his remarks in connection with the discovery of traces of oil at a drilling site near Ashdod last week. Laboratory tests made so far showed the sample to be of good, light quality with low sulphur content. Further tests are expected to indicate whether the oil exists in commercially exploitable quantities.

The Ashdod well is being drilled by the government-owned Hana Co. A core sample taken from a strata of dolomite rock at a depth of 2880 meters–nearly three kilometers–was promising. The announcement of the find sent the stock of oil prospecting and marketing companies soaring on the Tel Aviv stock exchange. But despite the high prices offered, owners of oil shares were sitting tight in the expectation of an even greater boom.

Dinstein said that future drilling will probe depths up to six kilometers in contrast to a maximum of four kilometers tapped so far. He said that one day’s drilling costs IL 500,000. The overall operation requires a high measure of expertise and capital and it is therefore desirable to have foreign companies join in the effort, Dinstein said. It was learned, meanwhile, that two foreign oil prospecting firms are seeking to end their operations in Israel because of the Arab boycott.

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