SPE Workshop: Lebanon Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Development 14 - 15 Mar 2018 Movenpick Hotel & Resort Beirut, Lebanon


Wednesday, March 14

07:30 - 08:30
08:30 - 09:30
09:30 - 10:30
Session 1: Setting the Scene: Lebanon Exploration Activity and Potential
Session Chairpersons Elie Daher, United Safety; Kassem Ghorayeb, American University in Beirut

Experts from the Lebanese Petroleum Authority (LPA) will share up-to-date information about:

  • Available data and studies
  • Current understanding of the offshore fields' potential
  • Status of exploration activity and plans


  • Setting the Scene of Planned Exploration Activities

Walid Nasr, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Head of the Strategic Planning Department, Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA)


  • Focus on the Current Understanding of the Petroleum System, Geology and Prospects

Wissam Chbat, Head of Geology and Geophysics Department, Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA)


  • Focus on the Post-Exploration Vision – The Way Forward for Field Development

Nasser Hoteit, Head of Technical and Engineering Department, Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA)

10:30 - 11:00
11:00 - 12:30
Session 2: De-Risking the Petroleum System Elements, Offshore Lebanon
Session Chairpersons Gwenal Guerin, Total; Jevon Hilder, Spectrum Geo Limited

There is still a good deal of uncertainty regarding the main petroleum system elements of the Levantine Basin offshore Lebanon. This session will focus on current thinking concerning:

  • Source rock distribution, maturity and the likelihood of oil or gas generation and migration pathways—the biogenic gas system is proven in the recent discoveries close to Lebanon offshore, but is there any room for a thermogenic system?
  • Possible reservoir provenance, quality and distribution—as no well has been drilled yet which could prove the sand presence, the regional understanding of the potential provenance is key for the future exploration in the area.
  • Structural evolution of the basin and implications for hydrocarbon traps and their integrity—the tectonic history of the area is complex, and the structural evolution is one of the main ingredients for success in this case.

As well as examining areas which are the subject of some conjecture currently, we will attempt to identify where new data or different approaches will improve our understanding of the petroleum system, vital for de-risking the exploration phase.


  • Multi-Episode Focused Gas Escape through the Thick Salt Sequence Offshore Lebanon

Chris Kirkham, Oxford University


  • An Integrated Approach to De-Risk the Levant Basin Offshore Lebanon

Ramadan Ghalayini, Exploration Consultant and Project Manager, Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA)

12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 15:15
Session 3: International and Regional Analogues and Lessons Learned
Session Chairpersons Rachad Ghanem, Lampion Oil & Gas Services; Ahmed Sabry, Schlumberger

Recently acquired seismic data offshore Lebanon led to the identification of promising prospects, yet many questions remain unanswered (e.g. basin temperature, pressure, rock and fluid properties, etc.).

It has become common practice to use and supplement subsurface datasets with information and concepts derived from basin and reservoir analogues. This aims at building a better understanding of new frontiers being explored, reducing uncertainties, and focusing on key elements for successful exploration and development. The industry has spent substantial efforts in recent years in examining the challenges inherent in the selection and application of appropriate analogue data.

The western and south-western portions of the Levant Basin were drilled with valuable direct and indirect measurements obtained from tests carried at well sites. Data from such regional analogues along with other international ones are believed to play a major role in reducing uncertainties pertaining to geology and reservoir characteristics within the Lebanese un-drilled area. Learnt lessons from regional and international analogues would significantly help to optimise well location selection and planning, improve managing drilling challenges, and enhance understanding of reservoir characteristics and challenges.  


  • Title TBC

Ahmed Hagras, Vice President Exploration, BP Egypt


  • Optimum Deepwater Evaluation Programme

Mohamed Hashem, Petroleum Development Manager, Dragon Oil

15:15 - 15:30
15:30 - 17:00
Session 4: Challenges in Deep and Ultra-Deep Offshore Drilling
Session Chairpersons Roy P. Borkhoche, Baker Hughes, a GE company; Kamel El Kholy, Schlumberger

The first exploratory well in the Levant basin (Leviathan-1 2010) was drilled to a depth of 5,170 metres at an estimated cost of USD 93 million when the natural gas commodity price was USD 5.42 /MMBTU. In the current market conditions, where natural gas prices are depressed (USD 3.0/MMBTU), drilling challenges or inefficiencies can easily deter further investment and development activity. Hence, it is critical to have the right combination of planning and execution coupled with the highest quality and HSE standards for the Lebanese offshore prospect to succeed. A full-stream integrated approach would be required to minimise the risks, improve well delivery efficiencies and drive down the cost per well.

The main purpose of this session is to go through the multiple drilling challenges and to ensure mitigation plans are in place prior to start up. These complex deep wells are high pressure, high temperature applications which require a unique approach and cutting-edge technology in order to drill and place within the reservoir productive zone. Among these challenges are drilling in water depths of up to 2,000 metres, which require unconventional surface and sub-surface infrastructure. Other encountered drilling challenges include, wellbore stability with reactive shale zones, shallow gas subsea spots, casing and tubular collapse in salt and pressured zones, multiple traversing fault lines, narrow pressure window drilling intervals, ECD management and depleted targets, downhole dynamics and drilling inefficiencies, severe lost circulation, well control and reservoir uncertainties. All these challenges increase the drilling risks and can easily drive well costs beyond the economic break-even point, if not well understood and properly planned for along with effective mitigation planning.


  • Insights of Deep Water HPHT Application to Address the Associated Deep Drilling Challenges, Minimising Drilling Uncertainties and Maximising the Drilling Efficiency

Ahmed Ismail, MENAT Technical Engineering Manager, Baker Hughes, a GE company


  • East Mediterranean Deep Drilling Challenges and Proven Solutions – Egypt Examples

Ahmed Osman, ‎Regional Drilling Engineering Manager, Schlumberger

Thursday, March 15

07:30 - 08:00
08:00 - 09:45
Session 5: The Journey of Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) from the Regulatory, Technical, and Operational Aspects
Session Chairpersons Elie Daher, United Safety; Hesham El Khafif, Petrobel

The Offshore Petroleum Resources Law (OPRL) establishes the main and general rules of the HSE regime in Lebanon, which is complemented by the extensive and detailed Petroleum Activities Regulations. New HSE legislation and regulations in Lebanon are currently being developed. The rules state that petroleum activities must be conducted in a way which enables a high level of safety. Any person managing or undertaking petroleum activities according to a petroleum right awarded under the OPRL must ensure high standard of health and high level of safety for their employees and the employees of subcontractors.

The right holder must ensure that anyone carrying out work on his behalf of the right holder through employees, contractors or subcontractors, complies with the HSE regulatory requirements. Petroleum activities must be conducted in a responsible and prudent manner and must include practices and methods that reasonably would be expected from internationally experienced operators.

As we are embarking on the exploration journey, operators, contractors and regulators should strive to provide safe, healthy, and secure workplaces, protect the environment, uphold and promote human rights, and respect cultural norms and values everywhere we operate.

The exploration and production work has the potential to impact people, the environment and society but through good management practices, stakeholders are able to deliver excellence in HSE and SR performance.

In this session, we will take a look at how we can effectively manage, measure, and advance our HSE and SR performance to achieve excellence in the years ahead for a safe journey into oil and gas exploration and production. Case studies, lessons learnt, best practices will be shared and discussed, and recommendations will be drawn.


  • Preparing Lebanon to Manage Health, Safety and Environment in the Upcoming Petroleum Activities

Assem Abou Ibrahim, Board Member, Head of QHSE Unit, Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA)


  • Implementing the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan for Lebanon: Needs and Challenges

Rania Maroun, Senior Consultant, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Sustainable Solutions & Technologies for Petroleum Services


  • Title TBC

Elie Daher, Executive Vice President & CMO, United Safety

09:45 - 10:15
10:15 - 12:00
Session 6: Optimal Data Acquisition for Reservoir Characterisation

What is the impact of a low oil price environment on data acquisition programmes, especially exploration? Are operators gaining value out of their investments on gathering data and turning it into decision-making basis?

When business decisions or investment decisions on a new play need to be made, the impact of a high uncertainty level in volumetric or productivity estimates may make the difference between investing further or not. The lack of proper information and analysis can make you miss a good investment or can also lead to an investment on an uneconomical play.

Oil and gas operators gain insight from acquiring accurate reservoir data in order to help them make better decisions. The right balance between the cost for the technology and how the information from that technology will be able to help reduce the uncertainty on a specific well or play.

This workshop will focus on the engineering aspects and the available technologies for reservoir characterisation in early exploration stages and how companies are able to optimise the value that a proper planned and executed data acquisition programme brings to their plans and decisions.


  • Without Good Data Management Not Proper Resource Management

Gunnar Sjøgren, Project Director, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate


  • An Improved Workflow for Characterising Complex Carbonate Reservoirs

Charles Smart, Petrophysics Expert, Baker Hughes, a GE company

12:00 - 13:00
13:00 - 15:30
Session 7: Post-Exploration Phase: The Way Forward towards Field Development
Session Chairpersons Amir Alwazzan, Dragon Oil; Kassem Ghorayeb, American University of Beirut

Exploration and production of oil and gas is a high-risk venture and the process of making decisions pertaining to this industry is still a very complex one due to the high number of parameters and issues involved in it. However, the industry has experienced significant improvements in the management of uncertainties in the past decades, and uncertainty and risk analyses are becoming more popular, contributing in an important manner to clarify the range and the impacts of new discoveries as well as development and production assets.

In this session, participants will share their experiences in addressing post-exploration issues to better understand and quantify the risks and uncertainties associated with this phase along with their effective controls. Discussions will be covering the principles of the FDP option selection, data acquisition and interpretation, risks’ analyses and smart fields’ developments. 


  • Zohr Story – Fast Track Development

Hesham Elkhafif, Projects Engineering General Manager, Petrobel


  • Deepwater Developments, Challenging but Exciting Journeys from Discovery to First Oil

Jean-Hervé Morard, Deputy Vice President Deep Water & Subsea, Total


  • A New Concept to Address Common Oil and Gas Facilities Challenges Solving Oil and Gas Processing Facilities Challenges with an Integrated  Approach

​Colin Findlay, VP Projects and Operations, Cameron, Schlumberger

15:30 - 16:00
16:00 - 17:00
Session 8: Workshop Summary Session

Highlights from different sessions will be recorded, consolidated and summarised during and after each of the above sessions. The summary will be presented, discussed, and finalised.