US-based Noble Energy has announced plans to move ahead with the development of the Leviathan natural gas field located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea area off the coast of Israel to commence production by the end of 2019.

Discovered in December 2010, the field is situated in 1,645m of water in the Levantine Basin, located approximately 130km west of Haifa, Israel.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS) estimates, the Leviathan Basin is expected to hold a mean approximation of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

The natural gas reserves in the Leviathan gas field are estimated to be 18 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in addition to about 600 million barrels of oil beneath the gas layer.

Noble Energy chairman, president and CEO David Stover said: "In addition to our onshore business, we have a tremendous opportunity with the Leviathan project offshore Israel. In 2017, our teams will begin project development, with first gas targeted for the end of 2019.”

In 2017, Noble plans to invest between $2.3bn $2.6bn for its operations including $1.8bn in the onshore activities in the US and $625m in offshore and other activities.

Noble Energy, in it is 2017 outlook plan, said that its capital expenditures in the Eastern Mediterranean for the Leviathan project will include drilling one production well, long-lead investment items, and ramp up of construction activities.  

Stover added: “Building on our strong performance over the last couple of years, Noble Energy is now rapidly accelerating our pace of development in 2017.”

The company is also planning to complete an additional production well at Tamar field.