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The Givot Olam Oil Exploration Partnership announced yesterday that it had successfully completed the first stage of its horizontal drilling at the Meged-4 well site, which lies east of Kfar Sava.

Givot Olam noted that this was the first time that a horizontal drill for oil exploration is being conducted in Israel.

In an earlier analysis of the Meged-4 site, Givot said there were indicated reservoirs of oil at depths of 4,800 meters in rocks dating to the lower Cretaceous Period (50 million years ago), and that the oil-bearing layer could be 20 meters thick. The completion of the drill though would have to be made horizontally.

Yesterday the partnership announced that it had successfully completed the necessary engineering stages to begin drilling and that the horizontal operation could reach a radius of up to 1,000 meters. According to Givot, the potential oil reserves at the site stand at around 980 million barrels, and it is estimated that it would be possible to produce quantities of 196 million barrels from Meged-4.

Earlier this year, the partnership raised NIS 30 million for the drilling operation.

Givot Olam holds the license for the Meged site, which stretches over 200 square kilometers in the Sharon area, and holds exclusive drilling rights in the area, in proximity to Kfar Sava and Rosh Ha'ayin. Givot already drilled at the Meged-2 well near Tel Aviv in 1994, to a depth of 5,200 meters.

In 1998, Givot Olam retested the Meged-2 site, northeast of Rosh Ha'ayin, and confirmed the presence of oil accumulated with gas.