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TEL AVIV — Two years ago, Ratio Oil Exploration LP, an energy firm here, employed five people and was worth about half a million dollars.
Today it sits at the center of a gas bonanza that has investors, international oil companies, Israeli politicians and even Hezbollah, Israel’s sworn enemy, clamoring for a piece of the action.
Ratio’s market capitalization now approaches $1 billion. The rally at Ratio is thanks to the company’s 15% stake in a giant offshore gas field called Leviathan, operated by Houston-based Noble Energy Inc.
On Wednesday, the frenzy got fresh fuel: Noble confirmed its earlier estimates that the field contains 16 trillion cubic feet of gas — making it the world’s biggest deepwater gas find in a decade, with enough reserves to supply Israel’s gas needs for 100 years.
It’s still early days, and getting all that gas out of the seabed may be more difficult than it seems today. But Noble and its partners think the field could hold enough gas to transform Israel, a country precariously dependent on others for energy, into a net-energy exporter.
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