(Bloomberg Businessweek) The deepest oil well drilled in Israel’s 65-year history may be the most important.

Houston’s Noble Energy Inc. (NBL:US) will probe 6,500 meters (4 miles) below the Mediterranean seabed later this year, targeting as much as 1.5 billion barrels of crude, equal to about 15 years of Israeli demand.

While explorers have found enough natural gas in the past five years to turn Israel into an exporter, a major oil discovery would break new ground. The Middle East’s third-largest economy spends about $10 billion a year importing 98 percent of the oil it uses. Domestic production would increase tax revenue, boost the country’s balance of payments and reduce vulnerability to supply disruptions.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.