Insights into Lebanon’s underexplored onshore and transition zone areas

The recent exploration successes in the offshore Eastern Mediterranean have explorationists curious about the broader implications of the region’s hydrocarbon systems, including the prospectivity of northern onshore Lebanon and the coastal region along the Mediterranean. With the goal to improve understanding of the region’s hydrocarbon potential, the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) engaged us to acquire a suite of airborne geophysical measurements – including gravity, magnetic, radiometric and hyperspectral – and subsurface resistivity data using ground-based magnetotelluric (MT) receivers. The newly-acquired datasets were integrated and simultaneously interpreted with legacy data and then analyzed using predictive analytics methods. The result revealed many indicators of an active hydrocarbon system and a new frontier exploration province in Lebanon.

Historically, Lebanon has not been regarded as a hub of hydrocarbon exploration and development. Development of onshore oil resources began in 1947 but were discontinued in 1967 due to civil war. Only seven onshore wells have been drilled – none of which produced in commercial quantities. Due to the small number of wells and limited production, interest from International Oil Companies (IOCs) remained relatively low, until recently, when several significant offshore natural gas fields were discovered in the Levant Basin. These discoveries renewed interest in the area and prompted Lebanon to expand its knowledge of the region by undertaking offshore and onshore seismic surveys. While offshore seismic data was acquired the initial plans to gather onshore data halted due to geopolitical situations and the country’s topographical challenges.

To circumvent the complexity of gathering onshore data, we conducted an airborne survey with a local partner, Petroserv, that was designed to map the regional prospectivity of 6,000 square kilometers of northern Lebanon and the transition zone along the Mediterranean coastline. Using an innovative, multi-measurement methodology, we integrated and simultaneously interpreted the new measurements with other legacy geo-data sets, including logs from two of the wells in the study area along with some of the available offshore seismic data.

The hyperspectral data, which is used to locate indirect and direct hydrocarbon indicators on the surface, identified mineral alteration zones that are often associated with hydrocarbon micro-seepage in large parts of the survey area. Even more telling, the hyperspectral data indicated a large expanse of oil seeps throughout much of the area of investigation.

We also acquired gravity and magnetic data to provide a view into basin architecture. The Complete Bouguer Gravity (CBG) data helped to identify a clearly defined boundary that is a structural archetype that we have seen associated with hydrocarbon trapping in other known oil & gas provinces around the world.

The survey provides basement-to-surface insights of Lebanon’s underexplored onshore and the transition zone along the Mediterranean coastline. We worked with the program’s underwriters to identify the relationships among key geologic features that extend into the survey area from offshore structures and from Syria’s onshore petroleum systems, as well as to efficiently highgrade acreage across the survey area in order to support future leasing, drilling, and investment decisions.



CUSTOMER Resource Sovereign

FOCUS Regional Prospectivity Mapping

TYPE Basin Architecture



Magnetotelluric (onshore only)


Hyperspectral (onshore only)

Radiometric (onshore only)

Predictive Analytics


  • Basement topography
  • 2-D cross-sections and regional 3-D structural models
  • Basement-to-surface maps highlighting local faults
  • Oil seep detection


Insight into how basin architecture affects deposition, maturation, migration and trapping systems, and the interrelationship among the country’s onshore and offshore hydrocarbon systems.