In 2011, shortly before conflict broke out in Syria, the government was preparing to begin bidding for its first offshore exploration blocks in the Levant Basin region. That, of course, has been put on hold, and three key basins analogous to massive finds in Israel and Lebanon remained entirely unexplored.
Geologists think it’s a gold mine.
There’s not much talk of this publicly, while all eyes are focused on who is controlling Syria’s onshore oilfields amid the fighting. But this is what we do know: The geology of the Eastern Mediterranean is highly prospective, and Syria has three key basins to tap into: Cyprus, Levantine and Latakia.
According to the US Geological Survey, the Levant Basin, which covers Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus and Palestine, contains around 122 trillion cubic feet of gas and at least 1.7 billion barrels of oil. The Israeli discoveries in the Levant basin, at its Leviathan and Tamar fields, have brought this into clearer focus, and as we noted in last week’s Intel Notes, this is the thing to watch as the end game for the Syrian conflict unfolds.
Before the conflict, the Syrian government on 24 March 2011 had announced its plans for an offshore auction. Up for grabs were three blocks with a total area of 9,038 square kilometers. To assist with bidding, there was some 5,000 km of seismic data for offshore Syrian territory in water depths ranging from 500 to 1,700 meters.