An Israeli energy company looking to revive an old oil well near the Dead Sea said on May 1 a new resources report showed the field could hold reserves worth 1.2 billion shekels (US$322 million).

Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP said the report prepared by Edinburgh-based Dunmore Consulting on the Hatrurim license, which covers 94 sq km (36.3 sq miles), gives a best estimate of the field containing 7 million barrels (MMbbl) of oil, while the high estimate is 11 MMbbl.

Partners in the Hatrurim project include Zerah Oil and Gas Exlorations LP, Gulliver Energy Ltd., Ashtrom Group Ltd. and Cyprus Opportunity.

A previous group had drilled at the same spot and discovered oil in 1995, but determined the field was not worth developing due to low oil prices.

Israel Opportunity said it plans to push ahead quickly with development, using more advanced technologies and taking advantage of dropping service costs. It said the drilling budget was US$5 million. (US$1 = 3.7320 shekels)