Syria’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has announced a tender for investing in oil shale in the Khanaser area, 103 km in southeastern Aleppo, over an area of 150 km2 divided into 14 blocks with geological reserves of 2.3 to 3 billion tons in each block.
|Oil shale deposits in Syria. Source: Gerjes, 2010. Click to enlarge.|
The total crude reserves at the site are estimated at 39 billion tons, and the oil content rate is valued between 5 and 11%, located at depths close to the surface. The maximum rock cover thickness is 59 m and the minimum thickness is 23 m.
The General Establishment for Geology and Mineral Resources has carried out the primary exploration studies which included digging wells as well as chemical and metallic lab studies to test the thermal energy content and the oil content in the crude shale.
Syria started research and exploration on oil shale in the 1950s, said Majid Gerjes, Exploration Director, The General Establishment of Geology and Mineral Resources, at a workshop on Regional Cooperation for Clean Utilization of Oil Shale held at Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt in 2010.
(In April 2010, regional partners established an Oil Shale Cooperation Centre in Jordan, the outcome of the workshop organized by the EU-funded Euro-Mediterranean Energy Market Integration Project (MED-EMIP). Established by Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Turkey in partnership with regional and international companies, the centre aims to develop a joint environmental and energy framework, establish common standards for studying and utilizing oil share resources, and attract investors in the sector.)
Published research and geological studies during 1955–1979 identified bitumen and oil shale phenomena in different areas in the country. A more vigorous investigation on oil shale began in 1980, but was stopped in 1985 due to the decrease in oil prices. In 2005, Syria reactivated the effort.
Syria is the only significant crude oil producing country in the Eastern Mediterranean region (including Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza), according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2009, Syria produced about 400,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude and other petroleum liquids. Oil production has stabilized after falling for a number of years, and is poised to turn around as new fields come on line, according to EIA. According to The Oil and Gas Journal, Syria had 2.5 billion barrels of petroleum reserves as of January 1, 2010.
Majid Gerjes (2010) Oil shale in Syrian Arab Republic