Greetings followers of NEOS. There’s a really interesting oil & gas exploration story developing in a new frontier hydrocarbon province – of all places, in Lebanon! I know, you probably are as skeptical reading this today as I was when our project started about a year ago. But there is cause for hope in the Levant!
Our story will unfold over six chapters in six weeks – think of it as an addition to your summer reading list, with a nice nod to exploration geoscience. Check back every Monday for the latest installment – our current publication schedule is as follows:
- 20 July – Pervasive evidence of hydrocarbons on the surface
- 27 July – Large anticlinal structures in the Triassic
- 3 August – Read our feature article in OilVoice
- 10 August – Resistivity anomalies in Cretaceous structural closures
- 17 August – Onshore exploration opportunity – stacked plays
- 24 August – Watch our finale narrated slideshow
When this project started, I was a big skeptic about Lebanon’s hydrocarbon potential. After all, not a single well is currently in production in Lebanon; and only seven – all onshore – have ever been drilled in the country’s history.
Yes, Lebanon is surrounded by oil & gas fields – most notably, the huge discoveries that have been made in recent years in the Eastern Mediterranean. But that is a totally different hydrocarbon system and most explorationists didn’t believe it extended into onshore Lebanon. Were they right…or do they need to reconsider? Or do the onshore oil & gas fields in Syria and to Lebanon’s south serve as better analogs?
Answers to these questions – and others – will hopefully be unlocked as our story unfolds.
Let’s start with one of the most compelling chapters in the story – the evidence of pervasive indirect and direct hydrocarbon indicators on the surface. These were mapped over the survey area (noted in the black polygon in the figure above) using hyperspectral imaging technology.
The image below shows where our analysis of the hyperspectral data revealed either mineral alteration zones (which we classify as indirect hydrocarbon indicators, as the alteration of minerals on the surface may be caused by the micro-seepage of hydrocarbons throughout the course of geologic time) or oil seeps and trace oil mixed into the soil (which we classify as direct hydrocarbon indicators).
You can’t have a frontier exploration play unless one has a source rock that at some point found itself in the hydrocarbon generation window.
The fact that we have these IHIs and DHIs in large quantities throughout the survey area – and, to foreshadow a future chapter in this story, over fault-bounded anticlinal structures in the subsurface – is very encouraging indeed!
This first bit of evidence grabbed my attention and got me wondering if I might need to reconsider my first impression – I hope it’s grabbed yours as well.