The Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry has set a fresh deadline of 28 February for five exploration licences. Several international oil companies have expressed interest in the five upstream blocks, which will be awarded in March on a production-sharing basis, a ministry official said. Blocks 2, 4, 10, 12 and 19 cover a total area of 26,000 square kilometres, and are among the largest of Syria's 24 unassigned tracts.
Located in different parts of the country, the blocks represent a wide range of geological features. Three, on the north and south borders, contain relatively unexplored acreage, but are believed to have some gas potential. Eastern blocks 2 and 12 have already been explored and, according to seismic data released by the ministry, contain significant oil reserves.
The only foreign oil companies operating in Syria at present are the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Tanganyika Oil of Canada, MOLof Hungary and France's TotalFinaElf. TotalFinaElf is also working with Conoco of the US on an associated gas project in the Deir al-Zor region.
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