July 2, 2012 / 1:28 PM / in 5 years

ATP strikes gas in Israel, shares jump

(Reuters) - ATP Oil & Gas Corp ATPG.O said it discovered natural gas at one of its wells off the coast of Israel, sending its shares up 14 percent.

The Shimshon well encountered more than 62 feet of natural gas pay in the Bet Guvrin sands, the company said.

The discovery comes a month after the company said CEO Matt McCarroll resigned in less than a week into his job due to disagreement on employment contract.

ATP, with a 40 percent working interest in the well, started drilling in late April 2012. According to an independent reservoir engineering evaluation, Lockwood and Associates, estimates suggest that Shimshon has about 2.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.

The company, however, said it would provide additional information about the discovery during the third quarter of 2012.

Shares of ATP Oil & Gas rose 44 cents to $3.80 in pre-market trading on Nasdaq. They closed at $3.36 on Friday. Houston-based ATP has lost 80 percent of its market value over the past one year.

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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