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Syria plans to start gas exploration in its offshore areas in early 2019, and has signed contracts for five offshore blocks with “friendly countries”, local media quoted Syrian Oil and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Ghanem as saying this week.
It was not clear which countries and companies were involved in the contracts.
Syrian waters are part of the Levant Basin and Cyprus, Lebanon, and Israel also share territorial waters in the Levant Basin. Back in 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas in the Levant Basin Province using a geology-based assessment methodology.
Oil Minister Ghanem told the Syrian Parliament that Syria targeted to produce 19 million cubic meters of gas per day by the end of next year, and 24.5 million cubic meters of gas a day by the end of 2019, Syrian newspaper al-Watan reports. According to the minister, the country’s target for oil production is to pump 70,000 barrels per day by the end of 2018 and 219,000 bpd by the end of 2019.
The Syrian war, now in its seventh year, led to the government losing control of most onshore oil and gas fields, but many of them have been recaptured in recent months as advances against the Islamic State have been made.
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Russian company Soyuzneftegaz signed in 2013 the first offshore exploration deal with Syria for joint exploration of Block 2 of Syria’s territorial waters. However, due to the conflict, Soyuzneftegaz said in September 2015 that it would not proceed with plans for oil and gas exploration offshore Syria.
The Russian company also froze its two onshore projects in Syria, in block 12 and block 26, near Syria’s borders with Turkey and Iraq, as the risks were very high, Soyuzneftegaz chairman Yuri Shafranik said back in 2015.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.