‘The figures quoted [in local newspapers] are estimates of resource potential and are not approved reserves from Marathon’s data,’ says a company representative. ‘It is premature to give [expected] production levels and details of well spudding dates.’

In December, Marathon started negotiations with SGC to settle a dispute over the two fields under which a new production sharing contract would be executed and Marathon would have the right to sell all or a significant portion of its interest to a third party.

‘We have retained that flexibility,’ says the representative. ‘Marathon discovered the two gas fields in the 1980s and submitted development plans in the 1990s none were approved. Damascus claimed the PSA had expired. Since then we have been in dispute over how to settle this matter’ (MEED 16:12:05).