Syria Puts 8 Onshore Blocks on the Table

DAMASCAS (Dow Jones), Apr. 5, 2010

Syria has invited international oil companies to explore, develop and produce hydrocarbon from eight blocks, the Syrian ministry of petroleum and mineral resources said in an announcement Monday.

The ministry is offering production-sharing contracts to explore blocks 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 14, 16 and 18 located mostly on the eastern and northern parts of the country.

The closing date for receiving offers by 1400 local time of Sept. 15, 2010 and companies should submit qualification documents by June 1, 2010, according to the ministry.

Interested companies are also invited to refer to the ministry's General Petroleum Corporation, or GPC, for further information, basic technical date on the blocks and tender book.

The announcement coincides with a Syrian government organized international oil and gas exhibition being held in Damascus where some 250 foreign firms are showcasing their products and services.

Syria aims to boost its crude oil production which has declined from 590,000 barrels a day in 2006 to 380,000 barrels a day currently. Its natural gas production stands at 25 million cubic meters a day.

The Syrian government recently extended an earlier deadline for bids to develop seven separate oil areas believed to be discovered fields containing heavy oil.

The deadline for the seven areas was extended to June 20 from May 19, 2010, the ministry's announcement said. The bidding will be for two groups of areas in the Raqqa province: Group 1 is made of West Tureb, Halima and Dohal, while Group 2 consists of Jaadeen, Tal Asfar, Zenati and al-Haloul.

The government is offering these seven areas to international companies on the basis of production-sharing agreements.

The fields are located in mature producing areas but need heavy investment in steam injection to rehabilitate them

They will be capable of producing "significant volumes" using enhanced oil recovery techniques, according to Syrian officials.

International oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Total, CNPC, U.K.-incorporated energy company Gulfsands Petroleum, Russia's Tatneft and India's ONGC Videsh are already working on oil and gas projects in the country.

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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