March 2013
Geo ExPro Cover
The latest issue of Geo ExPro, featuring an article on geochemistry by StratoChem team members David C. Mungo and Hunter C. Eden.

In This Issue
Don Hall Teaches DQ1000 Course
Apache Corporation Scientists Tour StratoChem
Egypt Gas Exports Up 4% in 2012
Libyan Gas Exports to Italy Halted
Jordan Denies Importing Gas from Israel
Oman Sees BP Gas Deal in Weeks
Gazprom Neft "Bags Kurdistan Block"
SCS Building
Upcoming Events  
  • March 19th: 17th Edition of Offshore West Africa 2013 - Accra, Ghana.  
  • March 26th: CAPE V, 5th African Petroleum Congress & Exhibition - Libreville, Gabon.
  • April 4th: 3rd Annual European Gas Forum 2013 - Prague, Czech Republic.   
  • April 8th: Gas Week 2013 - Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • April 8th: AAPG European Regional Conference 2013 - Barcelona, Spain. 
  • April 15th: SPE North Africa Technical Conference & Exhibition - Cairo, Egypt.
Don Hall Teaching
Don Hall demonstrates the DQ1000's capabilities in shale gas exploration.

Don & Bemen
Don Hall (left) with StratoChem geochemist Bemen Nazaka (right).

Hossam and Don Hall
StratoChem Modeling and Projects Manager Hossam Ali (left) discusses DQ1000 data with Don Hall after the course.

Rockwash Apache Students
Petroleum Systems School students watch the Rockwash in use.

Shaaban Teaches Apache Students
Students from Apache view a demonstration of  kerogen microscopy by petrographer Shabban Aly.

Mohamed Mike Tarek
Left to Right: Mohamed Said, StratoChem General Manager; Michael Abrams, Apache Geochemistry Manager; Tarek El Azhary, StratoChem Operations Manager.

The Foods of Egypt 
Over five thousand years of history and influence from three continents has made Egypt's cuisine like no other in the world.

Taam'iya: Often called
falafel, these fava bean patties were actually invented in Egypt. Coptic Christians, who could not eat meat during Lent, made
taam'iya as a substitute. Indeed, even the word "falafel" may have come from the Coptic phrase "pha la phel"--"made from many beans."

Foul: Another fava bean dish, foul has been eaten since the days of the Pharaohs (who even sacrificed it to the gods of ancient Egypt). Widely available from street carts, foul is still the beginning of many Egyptians' days. 

Koshary: Often called Egypt's national dish, koshary is certainly one of the most popular. A blend of chickpeas, rice, noodles, lentils, and various sauces, koshary boasts many regional variants. (Photo by Nick Wilbar.)

Kofta: One of the Middle East's most popular dishes, having spread from Morocco to India and Iran to the Balkans, these lamb patty sausages are very popular in Egypt.

Umm Ali
Umm Ali: Of Turkish origin, this sweet dish, made from a special dough and served with raisins in warm milk, has been enthusiastically adopted by Egypt as a national dessert.

Kunafa: A little like shredded wheat, this dessert is covered in syrup and sprinkled with crushed pistachios.

Halawa: This sweet paste (often made from sesame seeds) can be eaten in bar form or used as a spread. 

Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran wrote, "If it were not for guests, all houses would be graves."  February brought us a number of interesting guests here at StratoChem. First, Don Hall, President of Fluid Inclusion Technologies, Incorporated, taught a course entitled, "Interpretation of the DQ1000" for StratoChem employees. Then, geologist Geoffrey Mason from our partners at Sirius Exploration Geochemistry visited for an introduction to our geochemical solutions. Finally, we hosted a tour of our labs for students of Apache Corporation's Petroleum Systems School.  It was a lively month here in Egypt, and we're looking forward to more excitement as we enter March and April.  Be sure to check out an article by StratoChem marketers David C. Mungo and Hunter C. Eden in the current issue of Geo ExPro magazine, and if you happen to be in Barcelona for April's AAPG conference, we hope to see you there!




Your Friends at StratoChem Services


Oil & Gas March 2013
Don Hall Teaches DQ1000 Course
Don Hall Course Photo Feb 2013
Don Hall, President of Fluid Inclusion Technologies, Incorporated, taught a special, three-day course exclusively for StratoChem employees this past month on data interpretation for FIT's Divining Quad 1000 (DQ1000). An advanced wellsite tool capable of performing mass spectrometry during drilling, the DQ1000 detects petroleum species in the C1-C10 range as well as an array of organic compounds and inorganic gases, enabling the user to characterize petroleum type, delineate compartmentalization and proximity to charge, determine permeability and porosity, and discern fluid contacts. As more and more StratoChem scientists become familiar with the DQ1000's capabilities, we look forward to increased scientific collaboration with FIT, both in the Egypt and around the world.
Apache Corporation Scientists Tour StratoChem
Students from Apache
Twenty students of Apache Corporation's Petroleum Systems School, led by Apache geochemistry manager Michael Abrams, visited our facilities to get a glimpse at the inner operations of StratoChem, who have worked with Apache for over fifteen years in their local operations. The tour showcased many of our procedures from sample preparation to source rock characterization to detailed analyses of kerogens, gas isotopes, and biomarkers and made for a full and very enjoyable day. We hope Apache's Petroleum Systems School will return in the near future for a further demonstration of StratoChem's geochemical capabilities.
Egypt Gas Exports Up 4% in 2012: IDSC
Egyptian flag smallFebruary 28th, 2013
(Source: )

Egypt exported $22 billion worth of natural gas last year, 4 percent more than in 2011, according to a report on Economic and Social Indicators released in February by the state-run Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC).
The country exports dry and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, the US and South Korea. It also continues to supply a handful of Arab countries through the Arab Gas Pipeline, completed in 2004, despite a series of attacks on the pipeline since Egypt's January 25 Revolution, which disrupted the natural gas exports.
Egypt produced 45.8 million tonnes of natural gas in 2012, a 0.85 percent drop from the previous years' 46.1 million tonnes, according to the report.
Domestic consumption of natural gas, however, rose to 39.2 million tonnes in 2012, exceeding the previous years' figure by a significant 5.8 percent.
Egypt has two liquefied natural gas plants and a gas export pipeline, but industry sources say the government has diverted some gas contracted for export to meet the growing demands of the domestic market.
57 percent of domestic consumption gas was geared to electricity generation, compared to 56 percent in 2011.
The country has experienced increasingly frequent power cuts since the summer of 2012 due in part to a shortage in natural gas.
In January 2013, Egypt issued an international tender to import liquefied natural gas to meet its domestic needs; the results will be announced by the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), according to Hamdi Abdel- Aziz, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Petroleum.
Libyan Gas Exports to Italy Halted
Libyan Flag
March 4th, 2013

Libya has halted gas exports to Italy from its Mellitah complex following clashes between rival militias in the area, state-run firm NOC and Italy's ENI both said on March 2. NOC's deputy chairman, Mustafa Sunalla, said NOC officials, the Libyan prime minister's office, and defense ministry were holding meetings to try to resolve the situation.  


"Gas exports have been completely halted," he told Reuters.


The firefight reportedly began after an argument escalated between former rebel fighters from Zuwara and those guarding Mellitah facility, who are from the town of Zintan. It was not immediately clear what had caused the dispute but it was reported that tensions had been escalating for days.


ENI operates Mellitah in a JV with the NOC. The facility produces roughly 115,000 boepd and supplies with gas through the Greenstream pipeline. Libya provides about 10% of its gas demand.

Jordan Denies Importing Gas from Israel
February 20th, 2013

As a result, Jordan, like Israel, was forced to burn more expensive fuels at its power stations. The country was saddled with extra costs amounting to $5.6 bln for electricity production, forcing the government to increase subsidies by $1.6 bln to avoid doubling the price of electricity.

Jordan is also examining additional sources of natural gas, including from Qatar and Iraq, as well as the importing of liquefied natural gas by ship. Jordanian government sources recently said a restoration of Egyptian gas alone would not solve the kingdom's energy crisis if it continues to depend on imported fuel for half its electricity production.


Jordanian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources dismissed reports alleging that it imports natural gas from Israel.


"There are no secret talks between Jordan and Israel to import natural gas," said the ministry in a statement, the state-run Petra news agency reported.

The ministry added that the Arab Potash Company in Jordan is in talks with its Israeli counterpart to discuss the possibility to import natural gas from Israel as a cheaper alternative for fuel.  


"But no agreement between the two sides has been reached in this regard so far," it added.


The ministry noted that the government has nothing do with this issue.

Jordan, which imports about 96 percent of its energy needs annually, was forced recently to import expensive heavy fuel after repeated cuts in natural gas supply from Egypt.


The statement came after the Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported on Sunday that the partners in Israel's Tamar natural gas field have been conducting secret talks in recent months to export gas to Jordan that would power a potash plant on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.  


The gas would be delivered through the Israeli gas pipeline that serves Israel Chemicals' Dead Sea Works plant in Sodom. Extending the pipeline to reach Jordan would not require a large investment, Haaretz reported.


The negotiations are a sign of how desperate the kingdom is; it is considering a move as politically sensitive as sourcing gas from Israel.


An Israeli gas contract with Jordan would strengthen bilateral ties and help Jordan's beleaguered King Abdullah, who has seen his support fall amid rising energy prices and other woes.


Jordan imports 97% of its fuel needs at a cost of nearly a quarter of its gross domestic product, and 88% of the energy it consumes comes in the form of natural gas.


Until the revolution in Egypt that brought down President Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, Jordan received its natural gas from Egypt via a pipeline through Sinai under a contract for annual imports of about 3 billion cubic meters.


Like Israel, however, Jordan saw its gas supply cut off by sabotage starting in February 2011, which created long disruptions.  Unlike the contract with Israel, which was unilaterally canceled by the Egyptians last April, the supply to Jordan was recently renewed.


Jordan's Arab Potash Company produces potash, fertilizer and other products from the raw material produced at the Dead Sea. The company is 32%-owned by the Jordanian government and 28%-owned by the Canadian giant Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. Other shareholders include the Arab Mining Company 20% and the Islamic Development Bank.


In addition to the political problems an Israeli gas deal would entail for Jordan, Tamar has limited capacity for delivering gas because it has a single pipeline running from the offshore field to the Israeli coast.


But by 2015 Tamar is expected to have installed additional compressors, which would increase the pipeline's capacity by 25 and enable it to serve more customers.

Oman Sees BP Tight Gas Deal in Weeks, Finds More Gas
Flat Omani Flag
March 4th, 2013

Oman hopes to reach agreement in the next few weeks on the price BP would get paid for gas produced from the key Khazzan tight gas project, its oil minister said on Sunday. BP has long been haggling with Muscat over the price for any gas produced from the project, which Oman needs to maintain gas exports and meet rising demand at home.


'Both the government and BP have disagreements, including gas pricing, but I am confident that we will reach an agreement in the coming weeks for this project to go forward,' Mohammad bin Hamad al-Rumhy said.


Omani gas production has risen sharply over the last decade and the country remains a net gas exporter. But rampant domestic demand means it must tap more costly gas deposits if it is to maintain exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in coming years. In a rare Middle Eastern move to slash fossil fuel subsidies and encourage investment, Oman plans to double gas prices for industry from around $1.5 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) in 2012 to $3/mmbtu 2015.


According to industry estimates, total upstream costs for conventional gas production from reservoirs are around $3/mmbtu, but the cost of trickier projects like Khazzan, where gas is trapped between rocks deep underground, are likely to be higher. BP has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing the tight gas deposits in Block 61 in northern Oman and says commercial development is possible at the right price.

Non-OPEC oil producer Oman's proven gas reserves stood at 33.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) at the end of 2011, according to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy.  


Al-Ruhmy said on Sunday state-controlled Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) had found another 2.9 tcf of gas and 115 million barrels of gas condensate in the Mabrouk Deep field in exploratory drilling in 2012, Oman's state news agency reported.

PDO controls most of Oman's oil reserves and Royal Dutch Shell is the second-biggest shareholder.


Omani oil production has also been rising since 2007, thanks largely to enhanced oil recovery projects at existing fields, and is expected to hit 940,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2013, up from an average 918,000 bpd in 2012, Al-Ruhmy said.

Gazprom Neft "Bags Kurdistan Block"
February 28th, 2013
(Source: )

Russia's Gazprom Neft is reported to have acquired its third exploration block in Iraqi Kurdistan, defying Baghdad's opposition to such deals with the semi-autonomous northern region.


The oil production arm of gas giant Gazprom has secured an 80% operating stake in the Halabja project, with reserves estimated at between 630 million and 790 million barrels, Russian newswire Interfax reported on Tuesday.


"We are the operators of the project. Our immediate task is to map out an exploration and research programme. Investments have not been defined yet. The exploration period will last seven years," Gazprom  Neft's deputy chief executive Vadim Yakovlev was quoted as saying.


Last week, Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said Gazprom Neft had signed new agreements with the KRG, without disclosing details.


The company acquired interests in two other Kurdistan blocks - Garmian and Shakal - last August, following similar deals struck with international oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Total and Chevron that the Iraqi government deems illegal.


Gazprom Neft risks incurring the wrath of the Baghdad regime as it seeks to develop the Iraq-controlled Badra oilfield, with reserves of around 3 billion barrels, that is due to come on stream in 2017.


The federal government reportedly sent an ultimatum to the Russian company last November warning that it could lose its 30% operated stake in the field unless it pulled out of Kurdistan.


Iraq has meeted out similar treatment to other players such as Total and ExxonMobil.

However, Yakovlev said Gazprom Neft has not been notified by the Iraqi government of any wrongdoing.


Production sharing contracts being offered by Kurdistan to develop its prospective acreage are seen as more lucrative by foreign players than technical service deals on offer in Iraq as they gain a greater share of oil revenue.


However, Baghdad denies that the KRG has the right to sign such deals under Iraq's constitution, which has led to Iraq withholding export payments to foreign producers in Kurdistan in the ongoing dispute over territorial rights and resource sovereignty.