Syria Will Soon Offer First Oil Shale Bids
Syria will offer first licenses to develop shale reserves as soon as it decides whether to extract oil from the rock or burn the petroleum-rich shale as fuel in power plants, Deputy Oil Minister Abdo Hussameddin said.
“We could tender by next month,” he told reporters Thursday after officials met to discuss energy efficiency. “Before we make the announcement, we need to decide whether we want to extract oil from it or burn it to generate electricity.”
Syria is seeking foreign investment to diversify energy sources as it struggles to halt declining oil output. The country will deplete its existing crude reserves within 18 years, according to calculations by BP.
Syria discovered oil shale last year in the Khanaser region near the northern city of Aleppo and estimates the reserves at more than 40 billion metric tons. Oil shale is a sedimentary rock containing bituminous materials that are released as petroleum-like liquids when the rock is heated. About 10 percent of Syria’s oil shale consists of crude, Hussameddin said.
“It is better if we burn all the extracted oil shale to produce electricity because it will reduce by a lot our dependence on natural gas and fuel oil,” he said.
Oil Minister Sufian Alao said on Jan. 27 that the Arab country was planning to offer licenses to develop oil shale reserves by mid-March. Total, Petro-Canada and companies from China, Turkey and Estonia have expressed interest in Syria’s “good-quality” oil-shale reserves, he said at the time.
Source: Hurriyet Daily News