Noble Energy and its partners have commenced drilling the Tamar natural gas field, offshore Israel.

Drilling of the field, which contains up to nine trillion cubic feet of natural gas, will be carried out in three stages.

The drilling is to be completed within one year and the field will start production by the end of 2012.

The Tamar field is 39% owned by Noble Energy, 15.6% each by Delek Group subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas Exploration Partnership and Delek Drilling Partnership, and 28.7% by the Isramco Negev 2 Partnership.