Under the High Patronage of His Excellency, The President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel AOUN

SPE Lebanon Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Symposium 23 - 24 Mar 2020 Mövenpick Hotel Beirut Beirut, Lebanon


Monday, March 23

07:30 - 08:30
08:30 - 08:35
08:35 - 09:30
Opening Ceremony and Sponsor Recognition

Opening Remarks

Kassem Ghorayeb
Symposium Chairperson

Welcome Remarks

President of Lebanon or Representative

Welcome Remarks

Minister of Energy and Water, Lebanon

09:30 - 10:30
Panel Session 1: Regional Synergies Between Companies, Governments, Authorities, and Jurisdictions
Moderator(s) Constantinos Hadjistassou, University of Nicosia; Kassem Ghorayeb, American University of Beirut
Speaker(s) Demetris Fessas, Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company

Eastern Mediterranean offshore gas exploration and development presents a unique set of challenges. For instance, the optimal exploitation of basin resources from pore scale to the markets calls for regional collaborations at all fronts within the framework of existing geopolitical constraints. Furthermore, such synergies will greatly benefit Lebanon considering also the fact that the country joined the exploration phase later than other players.

Distinguished panellists from Cyprus, Egypt and Lebanon will highlight various opportunities for collaboration, and will set the stage for more focused discussions during the two days of discussion at the symposium. This session particularly will cover matters such as joint exploration including drilling, unitisation and monetisation pertaining to the offshore domain. Drawing inspiration from other regions panellists will present joint developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East (e.g., the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) and elsewhere.


Demetris Fessas
Acting General Manager
Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company

10:30 - 11:00
11:00 - 12:30
Session 1: De-Risking the Petroleum System Elements, Offshore Lebanon
Session Chairpersons Hassan Allouche, Total; Aleksandr Kurkin, Novatek

Multiple prospects with significant petroleum potential are identified in offshore Lebanon. Yet, the associated geological risks are poorly understood, since petroleum system elements are different from those of closest discoveries. This session is dedicated to the methods and studies that help towards better understanding the risks, and to increase the chances of exploration success, including but not limited to:

  • Advanced seismic processing methods that improve the imaging of complex trap geometry in pre-salt interval and enables highlighting subtle sedimentary features to detect DHIs, and distinguish them from artifacts.
  • Paleogeography, sedimentology, outcrop studies, seismic attribute analysis, and other interpretation techniques aiming to predict reservoir presence and distribution.
  • Tectonics and fault analysis, which help determining the age of key structural elements and estimating seal integrity in a basin where gas chimneys, pockmarks, and other evidences of potential hydrocarbons leakage are abundant.
  • Geochemistry and basin modelling to understand the timing of traps formation in relation to biogenic and thermogenic source rocks maturation, and to predict the migration and composition of hydrocarbons.
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 15:00
Session 2: A Decade of Discoveries and New Plays in the Eastern Mediterranean: Lessons Learnt and Analogues for the North Levantine Exploration
Session Chairpersons Alberto Negri, Eni; Ahmed Sabry, Schlumberger

Successful exploration activities in the East Mediterranean during the last decade opened new prolific plays. The discoveries of Tamar (2009), Leviathan (2010), Tanin (2012), Karish (2013), and Aphrodite (2011) proved a prolific gas play in the tertiary turbidite sandstones of the South Levantine sub-basin. Another important play has been recognised recently by the biogenic gas discoveries in the Mesozoic and tertiary carbonates like Zohr (2015), Calypso (2018), Onesiphoros (2018), and Glaucus (2019). The exploration of the possible extension of these plays into the northern Levantine sub-basin constitutes a major challenge for the E&P industry. It is common practice to supplement subsurface datasets with information and concepts derived from basin and reservoir analogues. This aims to reduce uncertainties and improve success rates on new frontiers being explored.

Recently acquired seismic data offshore Lebanon led to the identification of promising prospects, yet many questions remain unanswered. The western and south-western portions of the Levant Basin were drilled with valuable measurements obtained from drilled wells. 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. Lessons learned from regional and international analogues would significantly help to optimise well location selection and planning, and enhance the understanding of reservoir characteristics and various challenges.

15:00 - 15:30
15:30 - 17:00
Session 3: Challenges in Deep and Ultra-Deep Offshore Drilling
Session Chairpersons Constantinos Hadjistassou, University of Nicosia: Luisa Gharzelddine, Weatherford

Drilling in deep and ultra-deep offshore water is associated with major challenges that include but are not limited to harsh weather conditions, distance to shore, and many other characteristics of deepwater environment that increase the risk profile of drilling operations. In addition, drilling of exploratory wells are similar with their associated uncertainties of downhole conditions in general, including uncertainties of the reservoir, pressure window, depleted zones and losses, wellbore stability with reactive shale zones, downhole dynamics among other hazards.

To ensure safe drilling of such wells, whether technically and economically feasible, it is critical that those risks and challenges are identified and adequately addressed during the planning and execution phases as well as the evaluation phase to support the build-up of the learning curve for future development.

With an average water depth of 1,500m, the Mediterranean sea is no exception to the above. Establishing the required measures to mitigate the identified risks; with appropriate technology and applying industry best practices, coupled with the highest quality and HSE standards for execution; will support the optimisation and efficiency of operations and bring us closer to Lebanese offshore drilling success.

In this session, we will cover a wide spectrum of topics related to deepwater operations and drilling exploration well challenges, applicable technologies, lessons learned, and industry best practices.

17:00 - 17:30

Tuesday, March 24

07:30 - 08:30
08:30 - 09:30
Panel Session 2: Innovative Advances on Exploration for More Challenging Plays – Capitalising on the Three Key Industry Pillars: Technology, Process, and Experience
Moderator(s) Hassan Allouche, Total; Alberto Negri, Eni
Speaker(s) Ivo Nuic, Baker Hughes

Conventional exploration is addressing increasingly challenging plays, more complex geological settings, deep targets, stratigraphic traps difficult to detect and increased operational difficulties due to deeper wells, more complex development solutions and stricter environmental constraints. The oil and gas industry is continuously evolving in order to face these new and increasing challenges while attempting, at the same time, to reduce the financial and HSE exposure and assure its profitability. Three main pillars to guarantee sustainable results are, development of new and more sophisticated technologies, improvement of the processes efficiency and, leverage on the lessons learned and experience gained.

The collaboration and joint effort of Academia, Service Companies and Operators is fundamental for the development of successful new technologies. Operators point out the main needs and objectives and trigger the collaboration with Academic Institutions and Research Centers of the Service Companies to develop new tools and new technological solutions. During the recent years, the upstream sector saw major efforts to achieve more efficient technological solutions in the areas of seismic acquisition, seismic imaging, operational geology, reservoir modelling, seismic monitoring of producing fields, to name just a few.

The oil and gas industry is applying both Digital Transformation and Big Data extensively to improve processes efficiency, reduce time and avoid efforts redundancy. One of the benefits of digital transformation is also an improvement in HSE. Big Data allows us to forecast events, monitor and react in a very short time to reduce the negative impact and consequences.

Experience and competencies remain among the core assets to guarantee sustainable results in hydrocarbon exploration. Operators involved in the Upstream Business persist in their efforts to ensure constant update of the database and training of young professionals to achieve business continuity.


Ivo Nuic
Managing Director - DTC 4.0
Baker Hughes

09:30 - 11:00
Session 4: Drilling Safety: Risk, Prevention, Mitigation and Plans
Session Chairpersons Elie Daher, United Safety; Sergey Peresypkin, Baker Hughes

With Lebanon approaching the drilling stage, it is important to learn and share ideas, case studies and best practices on the HSSE aspect of drilling and operation from the region and from offshore operations around the world.

  • Explore and assess drilling and operations safety standards and codes of practice of other organisations, regulatory agencies, legislative bodies and identify those that will have a significant impact on and add value to the drilling operations
  • Learn techniques to identify hazards in drilling operations and take specific actions to prevent incidents and related costs
  • Share methodologies and skills to develop and implement a proactive and preventive safety plan for drilling operations
  • Review real-life case studies and share lessons learned which help to minimise incidents, prevent injuries, and maximise the effectiveness of the safety initiatives
11:00 - 11:30
11:30 - 13:00
Session 5: Optimal Data Acquisition for Reservoir Characterisation
Session Chairpersons Nour Hariri, Halliburton

Offshore Lebanon can be exceptional for having a thick structured depocentre that is entirely undrilled. Current perceptions are heavily driven by the discoveries in the Levantine basin. As the exploration phase launches, oil and gas operators will need to acquire accurate data and gain reservoir knowledge that enables them to make guided and engineered decisions. The right balance between the cost and value of information helps to reduce the uncertainty of a well or play.

With plans to drill the first exploration well offshore Beirut and the ongoing preparation for the second round of licensing, this session will focus on the available data acquisition tools, reservoir characterisation technologies, data processing, and interpretation techniques to develop a reservoir model. This will not only narrow down the uncertainty of neighbouring blocks, but will also aid in building a development plan that maximises asset values by placing future wells in the right formations.

13:00 - 14:00
14:00 - 15:30
Session 6: Post Exploration: The Way Forward Towards Field Development
Session Chairpersons Roy Borkhoche, Baker Hughes; Nicodemos Nicodemou, Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company

As Lebanon continues to explore and evaluate its offshore price, careful consideration and decisions have to be made regarding full life-of-field subsea and surface development. The value of the price along with market dynamics will define the economic boundaries for field development—those limits could be maintained or stretched with project planning and execution. While offshore exploration and development in Lebanon is in its infancy, the pivotal determinants for success are operator, service, and supplier collaboration along with implementation of proven best practices and deployment of step-change technology. In this session, we will invite presenters to address the challenges facing deepwater gas developments, discuss current industry best practices, and propose how new technologies can unlock the monetisation of these discoveries. Beyond the discussion of both deepwater subsea and surface production infrastructure, this session will also encourage the discussion of new approaches to the oil and gas project lifecycle, with integrated, fast-track field developments becoming more prevalent.

15:30 - 15:45
15:45 - 17:15
Session 7: Digital Transformation
Session Chairpersons Bassel Abdelwahab, Schlumberger; Issam Hubbi, EDGO

There is no doubt that the recent acceleration in adopting new information and computing technologies has impacted the E&P business landscape. However, the oil and gas industry still has a lot of work to catch up on this global digital transformation.

Organisations in the industry have been putting significant efforts in adopting new technologies (IoT, AI, big data, and block chain to name few); however, these efforts are yet to be translated into real value-added opportunities. Are we going as an industry at the right speed of digital transformation to harvest the benefit or are we falling behind because of our legacy systems and tight regulations.

The SPE community, industry experts, and technology enthusiasts will shed some light on the challenges and opportunities of the digital transformation in the industry with a special focus on deep and ultra-deep gas field exploration and development. This session will enable presenter to share ideas or potentially combine efforts to explore new collaboration opportunities to add value to the emerging offshore Lebanon developments.

17:15 - 17:45
17:45 - 18:00