Eni, Total, CNPC Among Bidders for Syrian Oil Blocks

Total SA, Eni SpA, China National Petroleum Corp. and 10 other foreign companies submitted 15 bids for rights to explore for oil in eight blocks in Syria.

“The offers will be opened next week,” Deputy Oil Minister Hassan Zainab said today. The results of the bidding will be made public in about two months, he said.

Syria’s oil will run out within 18 years, according to its reserves-to-production ratio as calculated by BP Plc. The country is trying to halt the decline in its output by attracting investment to new developments. The contracts cover exploration and production for oil blocks that extend over 40 percent of the nation’s territory, Zainab said Sept. 1.

Among the bidders were Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, which operates in Syria as PetroCanada; U.K. explorer Gulfsands Petroleum Plc; Dallas-based Improved Petroleum Recovery and Sweden’s Svenska, he said in a telephone interview from Damascus.

Sea Dragon Energy Inc. and Loon Energy Corporation from Canada, and Houston-based Flournoy Oil & Gas also bid for the blocks, Zainab said.

Three companies based in the Arab world offered bids, including Dana Gas PJSC from the United Arab Emirates, Pico International Petroleum from Egypt and Hadi Bouchamaoui Sons International from Tunisia, he said.

The government plans to offer contracts for offshore exploration in 2011, after postponing the bidding from this year. It auctioned licenses for seven fields last year.

Syria’s crude production peaked at 583,000 barrels a day in 1996. The country pumped 390,000 barrels a day last year and the government forecasts output of 380,000 barrels a day this year.

Syria had proven oil reserves of 2.5 billion barrels at the end of 2009 and has the smallest gas deposits in the Middle East after Bahrain, according to BP’s Statistical Review.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nayla Razzouk in Amman at nrazzouk2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bruce Stanley at bstanley5@bloomberg.net

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