Investors in Shemen Oil and Gas were disappointed following the failure to find oil in its Yam-3 well off the coast of Ashdod. The company reported Sunday that despite initial hopes and indications that the site would be oil-rich, drilling proved to be dry.
The drilling reached a depth of 5,700 meters (18,700 feet) under the sea and cost about $175 million. Former IDF chief and current Shemen Chairman Gabi Ashkenazi said Sunday evening in response to the news that the company intends to look into the implications of the dry well and that "we will certainly continue to operate, we have the full area we were licensed for." He added, however, that "it is likely that the dream of a full well of oil will not come true."
Shemen CEO Yossi Levy explained the reason for drilling in the area, noting that "drilling in Yam-3 was undertaken following oil findings after drilling in Yam-2 more than 20 years ago. After that, very thorough 3-D research was done." According to Levy, "Relying on the findings in Yam-2, large professional companies indicated the potential to find natural gas in the upper layers and oil in the lower layers."
Ashkenazi spoke about his feelings surrounding the current results: "Unfortunately, we did not succeed to extract the quantity of oil [we had hoped for]. It's is a feeling of disappointment, we thought we would bring [good] news to the field of energy independence."
Despite the disappointment, over the last two years, Ashkenazi and Levy received a salary of more than $1.5 million between them, not including options, amounting to about 100,000 shekels (roughly $28,000) each per month. They also received terms including coverage of business class flights and stays at four-star hotels.
When asked about his salary, Ashkenazi replied: "We are looking at the results of the drilling, not at these topics. I recommend that the data be reviewed."