The Eastern Mediterranean region has drawn a great deal of interest in recent years, and not
just because of the dynamic geo-political situation in the region. The petroleum industry has
been watching the region with a keen eye, as exploration successes in the offshore waters of
the EastMed have many intrigued by the potential riches to be unlocked in this newly emerging
hydrocarbon province. Noble Energy's 2010 discovery of the Leviathan field and the reported
16 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas it contains captured the attention of explorationists
worldwide. Other discoveries in the EastMed, including that of the 5-10 TCF Aphrodite field in
Cyprus' territorial waters, have only added to the fervor.
While these recent offshore discoveries make it appear that the EastMed is one of the newest
regions on the global hydrocarbon stage it is, in fact, one of the oldest. Syria has a
hydrocarbon history that dates back to the days of Antiquity when bitumen on the surface
was used to lubricate stone tools and to waterproof crop baskets. Just a few years ago, Syria
was producing 400,000 barrels of oil per day. At 2.5 billion barrels, Syria possessed the largest
hydrocarbon reserves of any producer in the greater Levant region, excepting Iraq...