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East Mediterranean news roundup

The Eastern Mediterranean region, home to major natural gas fields such as Aphrodite and Leviathan, is playing an increasingly significant role in the global oil and gas market. Between them, these two fields boast recoverable gas reserves of around 680 billion cubic metres. 

In this roundup, we take a look at oil and gas developments from across the region that have made the headlines in recent days:

Three bids received for Greek deep sea oil and gas drilling

Greece has received three bids for deep sea oil and gas drilling in the west of the country and to the south of Crete.

The bids form part of the country's latest effort to exploit untapped hydrocarbon reserves, as the Greek government strives to boost revenue to help repay its international creditors.

Announcing the news, the Greek energy ministry explained it would not disclose the identity of the bidders until tender documents have been unsealed.

Last year, potential investors were invited to bid for test drilling rights in 20 offshore blocks covering an area of more than 200,000 sqkm.

The energy ministry said it was encouraging that three applications had been received, given the challenging conditions currently prevailing in the oil and gas market.

"It is assessed as a positive step in the country's attempts to utilise its subsea wealth," the ministry was quoted by Reuters as saying.

NEOS identifies possible 'frontier oil and gas province' in Lebanon

Exploration solutions provider NEOS says it has identified the emergence of a new frontier oil and gas province in Lebanon.

The discovery forms part of the company's neoBASIN study, which evaluated the potential of a 6,000 sqkm area comprising the onshore northern part of Lebanon and the Mediterranean coastal transition zone.

NEOS claims there are a number of tell-tale signs that are suggestive of a "highly prospective hydrocarbon system". It found evidence of hydrocarbon-generating source rock and oil seeps, large structural traps, and multiple stacked play types.

The company is now planning to capture additional data - including seismic scans of the most promising structures - in order to remove as much risk as possible from future exploration work, and to secure the capital required to drill in these locations.

Arthur Nazarian, Lebanese minister of energy and water, said: "This neoBASIN project has put the topic of onshore oil and gas exploration on the top of our national agenda once again. 

"As an indication of the importance in which we hold this project, the ministry will begin undertaking all of the necessary procedures to ensure the development of a vibrant onshore exploration sector."

Russian businesses would consider relaunch of Syrian oil and gas projects

Russian businesses would consider resuming their Syrian energy contracts - worth a combined $1.6 billion - if the country becomes more stable, according to the executive director of the Russian Union of Gas and Oil Industrialists.

Speaking to state-run news agency RIA Novosti, Gissa Guchetl explained that if the civil war comes to an end, Russian companies would be ready to renew activity in the country "within a short period of time".

His comments come after a Damascus meeting with Syrian prime minister Wael Halqi and petroleum and mineral resources minister Suleiman Abbas. The ministers are eager to load refineries at Banias and Tartous, and stockpile oil products for the winter.

GE Oil & Gas signs Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline deal

GE Oil & Gas has won a multi-million dollar contract to provide high-end turbomachinery for the initial phase of the landmark Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project.

The partnership between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, Turkey's state-owned BOTAS and BP will transport gas from Azerbaijan to key European energy markets via Turkey. The first phase is scheduled to go online in three years' time.

Under the deal, GE will provide essential systems referred to as "the heart of the pipeline", comprising turbocompressor trains manufactured, tested and packaged in Italy for delivery in 2017.

GE won the deal thanks to the lower emissions and maintenance costs of its equipment, as well as its strong record of operational efficiency.

Rami Qasem, president and chief executive of GE Oil & Gas in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said: "The contract reiterates our commitment and proven track record to support game-changer projects - such as TANAP - that will not only support local economies through job creation and economic value, but also strengthen the energy security of markets across Europe."

Eni hails 'important gas discovery' in Egyptian Nile Delta

Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni says it has made an "important gas discovery" 120 km north-east of Alexandria in the Nile Delta.

Part of the Nooros exploration prospect in the Abu Madi West licence, the discovery is estimated to account for 15 billion cubic metres of natural gas, plus associated condensates.

Eni expects to begin production at the site in just two months through a tie-in with the nearby Abu Madi gas treatment plant, which is located 25 km south-east of the discovery.

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