A Wealth of Data

New studies help de-risk Lebanon's off- and onshore

The third time proved the charm for Italian oil and gas company ENI in the past 12 months.

In late 2014 and early 2015, ENI and South Korean partner KOGAS found nothing when drilling offshore for hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). On August 30, 2015, however, the company announced the discovery of a “supergiant” gas field dubbed Zohr – estimated at 30 trillion cubic feet (tcf) – not far from its dry wells, but in Egypt’s EEZ.

While the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) tells Executive that, “It’s a bit early to evaluate how we should position ourselves in terms of further studies and assessments” of Lebanon’s EEZ in light of the ENI discovery, the dry wells have already led to some reanalysis of the data collected covering Lebanon’s offshore. The LPA says that two more studies of the data were performed to “better understand the sedimentations and the potential reservoir parameters in light of the recent failures of ENI in Cyprus,” without indicating what results these studies achieved.

Lebanon’s EEZ has already been extensively covered by both 2 and 3-dimensional seismic surveying. A new interactive map on the LPA’s website details where surveying has been conducted in both offshore and onshore Lebanon. The map also shows the delineation of the offshore blocks and those that will be tendered for exploration and production – information yet to be officially declared via a delayed decree. According to the LPA, blocks 1, 4, 5, 6, and 9 will be up for bidding whenever the licensing round moves forward.

An advisory body to the Ministry of Energy and Water with some regulatory powers, the LPA has been cautious about playing the numbers game when it comes to offshore prospectivity. As the ENI examples highlight, data only goes so far. Drilling is the only reliable way to know what lies below the seabed. That said, the LPA has previously offered so called P50 estimates for offshore blocks 1, 4 and 9. A P50 estimate means that there is a 50 percent chance of finding a certain volume of oil or gas. The LPA said that each block had a P50 estimate of at least 13 tcf.

And while offshore re-evaluation of data will continue, says the LPA, the real survey work in 2014/2015 was done onshore.

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