Offshore Lebanon could be oil-prospective

Oct. 11, 2018
The Lebanese Petroleum Administration could launch Lebanon’s second offshore licensing round next month.

Offshore staff

LONDON – The Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) could launch Lebanon’s second offshore licensing round next month.

This follows approval last May by theCouncil of Ministers to start preparations for the round.

Jevon Hilder, Spectrum Geo’s vice president for the Middle East and London, speaking at the company’s Explorers Seminar in London last week, said he expected some of the blocks that the company has analyzed to be included in the new round.

Pre-qualifying for bidders will likely follow early next year, with more companies probably invited to tender for bids than in the first round. The LPA, he added, was keen to talk to interested parties on what went well last time and what could be tweaked to improve the process.

Bidding would probably run from May to October 2019, with the first awards for exclusive petroleum rights to explore and develop offshore hydrocarbon resources following later in the year.

The Levant basin has delivered a series of biogenic gas discoveries over the last decade, but there are also indications of a thermogenic source, Hilder said, pointing out thatEnergean’s Karish field has been producing light oil (condensate) as well as gas.

Spectrum Geo has identified possible source rocks in the basin at Oligocene, Palaeocene-Eocene, Cenomanian-Turonian and Jurassic levels, partly from existing seismic coverage and available literature, but also from the results of two deepwater wells drilled recently by Eni off southern Cyprus.

“Our modeling suggests an oil basin,” Hilder said. “In Karish, the migration may be coming from an Oligocene source kitchen in the southern Levant basin, with primary migration likely also into traps in the north Levant basin. Beicip-Franlab previously analyzed seeps in the basin and concluded that there was strong potential for thermogenic oil in the northern Levant.”

Seeps and possible fluid pipes are features that are evident in proven working petroleum systems elsewhere, he pointed out, such as the Cantarell field in the Gulf of Mexico and the Scarborough field offshore Western Australia.

Spectrum Geo has worked with a team at Oxford University in England on studies of trapping, mapping fluid escape pipe migrations over time, and they have concluded that parts of the Levant basin, where there is evidence of oil seeps, may have been charged and re-charged around 20 times.

“We have mapped many structures in the North Levant basin…some of which could be sealed and ‘ready to go,’” Hilder added. “Sand provenance is most likely from the south and the Nile Delta: heading into the North Levant area, we think there is a basin floor fan complex with up to 1 km [0.62 mi] of sand in this basin.”

One of the structures Spectrum Geo has mapped offshore Lebanon is Phoebe, a three-way dip closure in the lower Miocene, which the company has mapped as being on the same scale as thedeepwater Tamar gas field offshore Israel to the south. Analysis suggests that Phoebe is far less structurally complex than Tamar, he said, and could hold around 800 MMbbl of oil.

Potentially, based on studies to date, Lebanon’s offshore could hold 100 tcf of gas and 16 Bbbl of oil, he claimed.