Syria to Auction Offshore Energy Contracts in 2011
Writer/Source: Bloomberg (23/11/2010)
Syria, an energy producer in the eastern Mediterranean, plans to auction contracts for offshore oil and gas exploration in 2011, after postponing the bidding from this year.
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Oil Minister Sufian Alao, speaking today at a conference of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries in Damascus, did not give a reason for the delay.
Syria has already invited international companies to participate in tenders to explore for oil and gas in eight onshore concessions, he said. The government offered licenses for seven fields last year.
Syria is seeking to halt declining crude output, which peaked at 600,000 barrels a day in 1996. The government has forecast that production will drop to 380,000 barrels a day this year, down 10,000 barrels a day from last year.
Syria had proven oil reserves of 2.5 billion barrels at the end of 2009, the smallest among the nine Middle Eastern countries listed in BP Plc’s statistical review for last year. Syria’s oil will run out within 18 years, according to its reserves-to-production ratio as calculated by BP.
The country expects to boost production of both oil and natural gas this year and has raised its estimated gas reserves, Alao said. He did not provide figures or details.
Syria’s oil output reached 105.7 million barrels for the first nine months of 2010, averaging 387,000 barrels a day, the state-run SANA news agency said on Oct. 31.
Syria produced 7.52 billion cubic meters of gas during the same period, averaging 27.5 million cubic meters a day, SANA said. Alao said on April 6 that Syria planned to increase its gas output by 29 percent to 36 million cubic meters a day by the middle of next year.
The government recently sought bids for consulting work on a project to build three cross-border pipelines to import oil and gas from neighboring Iraq on a build-operate-transfer basis, Alao said today. Infrastructure work in Syria for a gas pipeline to Turkey is set for completion in March, while Turkey is due to finish preparations on its side of the border by the end of 2011, he said.
The pipelines will form links in a regional network connecting Syria with Turkey, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Europe, he said.
Oil ministry officials traveled yesterday to Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, to negotiate an agreement to import gas from Azerbaijan to Syria by way of Turkey, Alao said. Syria currently imports less than 2 million cubic meters of gas a day, all of it from Egypt.
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