High expectations

Much has been said regarding the prospects for oil and natural gas in Lebanese waters. Extensive surveying — the entirety of the country’s offshore waters has been spanned by 2-dimensional seismic surveys while 70 percent has been covered by the 3-dimensional kind — has resulted in the identification of the zones most likely to contain recoverable hydrocarbons, drawing interest from 46 companies that prequalified to bid in Lebanon’s first offshore licensing round.

A Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) map from 2012 shows where the greatest potential to find resources may exist. The results of seismic surveying have resulted in assessments which companies can use to drill exploratory wells and thus test projections of reserves in Lebanon’s exclusive economic zone.

The results of surveying suggest the different zones contain gas reservoirs at different depth: biogenic gas is formed at shallow depths and low temperatures by bacterial decomposition of organic matter, suggesting lower costs in drilling and extraction. Thermogenic gas, in contrast, is formed at greater depths through thermal cracking of decomposed organic matter or oil into gas — where molecular bonds are broken due to high heat and temperature — suggesting higher costs in drilling and extraction.

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