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SYRIA - Oil Reserves.

Independent sources estimate Syria's proven oil reserves, recoverable at costs not exceeding $5/b, at less than 2.5 bn barrels. The state-owned Syrian Petroleum Co. (SPC) has put the proven oil reserves at about 3 bn barrels, a figure it has maintained since end-1993.

SPC has broken its 3 bn barrel figure down as follows: 1.6 bn barrels in the fields of Al Furat (a JV of SPC, Shell & Veba which is being acquired by Petro-Canada); 1.2 bn barrels in SPC's own fields; and 200m barrels in the fields of Deir Ez Zor Petroleum Co. (SPC-TotalFinaElf) and Al Bishri Petroleum Co.

The SPC figure includes oil reserves in place which can only be extracted by expensive EOR systems. Those proven are concentrated in seven major fields.

The biggest accumulation of oil lies in Syria's oldest field, Suwaidiyah, where the reserves have been estimated by SPC at more than 1 bn barrels of very heavy oil with a high gas ratio, and the field extends to the Rumailan structure. The second biggest accumulation lies in the Al Thayyem and Omar groups of fields of Al Furat (see profiles in Part 2).

There has been confusion about the size of Syria's gas reserves. SPC is sticking to figures it first published in 1993, saying the recoverable reserves of associated and non-associated gas stand at almost 234.5 BCM.
 (million cubic metres)

 Associated Non-Associated Cap
Area/Company Gas Gas Gas Total
Suwaidiyah/SPC 8,239 4,226 21,068 33,533
Jibeissah/SPC 2,646 8,494 10,942 22,082
Al Hol, Al Ghona, Marqada - 12,803 - 12,803
Central Area (Palmyra) 21 71,003 - 71,024
Palmyra (now SPC) 311 31,144 - 31,455
Total SPC 11,217 127,670 32,010 170,897
Deir Ez Zor/Al Furat (AFPC) 35,141 - 9,26 44,410
Deir Ez Zor/TotalFinaElf 154 - 19,015 19,169
Al Bishri/Al Bishri Co. 18 - 18
Grand Total 46,530 127,670 60,294 234,494

Source: SPC study published in 1993 & republished in 1998

Exploration & Background: There has been little exploration in recent years, with no significant oil discoveries. The latest major find was made in July 1999. The discovery well, Kishma 101, tested 5,000 b/d of light oil and 7.1 MCF/day of gas. Spudded on May 19, 1999, the well was targeting a Paleozoic objective at a depth of 3,000 metres.

The well is about 100 km south-east of Deir Ez Zor and just 2 km south-east of the Kishma 1 discovery which was made in 1995 by Dublin-based Tullow Oil. But Tullow Oil later abandoned the field and left Syria.

The only earlier find was made in September 1997 by SPC which announced a "major gas field" in the Palmyra area. The national company, exploring a block abandoned by Marathon of the US, found the field at a depth of 2,400 metres (7,920 feet) about 80 km south-east of Palmyra. SPC said this was the largest gas field in Syria.

Later SPC said the field, Abu Rabah, had the potential to produce 1-2 MCM/day (about 35-70 MCF/day). It said this was to help Syria shift to gas for the operation of its power plants and oil refineries. The field's reserves were not disclosed. A second well, Abu Rabah 2, in 1999 struck gas and condensate.

SPC announced four finds made in January 2000. Gas and condensate were found in a Kurrachine Dolomite formation in an Abu Rabah 3 well. It said that, following an April 1999 spud, the well was drilled towards a projected depth of 3,500 metres to appraise the Abu Rabah 2 discovery. Another appraisal well, North Al Faid 2, found gas and condensate in the Kurachine Dolomite. This was pursuing the gas/condensate trend of the Palmyrides Fold Belt, which also extends into Central Syria. SPC said oil was found in the Al Bishri block, where exploration well Wadi Obeid 24 was drilled to the Judea formation.

The fourth discovery was made in the Kishma field, where the Kishma 103 appraisal well struck gas in a Paleozoic formation.

Shell in February 2000 found oil in its 4,881 sq km Zenobia block in the north-east through two wells, Younes South-101 and Athaman-101. Shell subsequently developed the two wells in a fast-track project which raised Al Furat's oil production. From 1984 to 1993, Shell found about 2,000m barrels of oil equivalent of oil and gas. But it failed to make any more commercial discoveries since then.

In late 2000, SPC said it tested 18 MCF/day of gas from an Al Sakhana find made in an area north-east of Damascus. A number of wells had been drilled there since 1989. But SPC said this was the first commercially viable discovery. The company said it planned to drill several wells on the structure.

Exploration and drilling in Syria only cover about 36% of the country's 800 potential structures. A few E&P deals have been signed since mid-1998, and in late 1998 Tullow Oil abandoned its Syrian operations. The only foreign oil companies operating in Syrian E&P ventures now are Shell, TotalFinaElf, MOL of Hungary and Tanganyika Oil of Canada. A partnership of Conoco and TotalFinaElf in September 2001 completed an associated gas project in the Deir Ez Zor region (see Part 2 in next week's Review).
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Publication:APS Review Gas Market Trends
Date:Mar 25, 2002
Previous Article:SYRIA Geology - The Cenozoic.
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