Syrian offshore gas exploration will begin in early 2019, the country’s oil minister said, Syrian newspaper al-Watan reported on Dec. 13.
Oil and mineral resources Minister Ali Ghanem said contracts for five offshore blocks had been signed with “friendly countries”. The report did not say which countries or companies were involved.
He also said Syria has an estimated 1,250 billion cubic meters of offshore gas reserves. The report did not say when or how the Syrian government had appraised the reserves.
In 2013, Russian energy firm Soyuzneftegaz signed the first offshore exploration contract with Syria for Block 2. But in 2015, it said it would not go ahead with the project because of Syria’s conflict—now in its seventh year.
In comments made to the Syrian parliament on Dec. 12 and reported by al-Watan on Dec. 13, Ghanem said Syria aims to produce 19 million cubic meters a day (cu. m/d) of gas by the end of 2018 and 24.5 million cu. m/d by the end of 2019.
He also said Syria aims to produce 70,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil by the end of 2018 and 219,000 bbl/d by the end of 2019.
The war in Syria meant the government lost control of the majority of Syria’s onshore oil and gas fields, but many have been recaptured as a result of advances made against Islamic State in recent months.
This has enabled the government to produce more power.
Tests of the first shale well at Cuadrilla’s site in northwest England show a rich reservoir of high quality and recoverable gas, the British firm said on Feb. 6, adding that rules that have constrained its testing work should be eased.
There will be no seismic exploration this winter on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the Interior Department said on Feb. 8, after the company seeking permission to conduct the tests ran out of time to get the required permit.
U.S. oil producers sought on Jan. 23 to soothe OPEC's worries about losing market share, telling the group that investors in the U.S. firms wanted a reduction in growth and higher payouts.