Middle East

The Middle East Region contains some of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves and production. Whilst in the south of the region large mature fields are undergoing extensive development operations, there are still active exploration campaigns in the north, particularly in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Eastern Mediterranean. The region continues to evolve and, despite ongoing political difficulties, is expected to remain a significant player in the oil and gas industry in the foreseeable future.

Middle East
Regional Highlights

Middle East Key Highlights – 2016


The graphic depicts licence awards and relinquishments in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq over the last ten years. The large amount of relinquishments in 2016 is understood to be the result of several contributing factors including the oil price, security situation, disappointing drilling results and continuing political differences between the Federal Iraq Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Dr. Sarah Haggas and Stuart Lewis are our managers for the Middle East Region based in the Tetbury, UK office. The Middle East team has a staff of ten colleagues, predominantly geologists and GIS specialists, with more than 50 collective years of industry experience. It supplements comprehensive regional E&P coverage with detailed historical research, an approach which enables IHS to effectively map trends as they emerge and forecast resultant supply imbalances which are key policy drivers. A focus upon tracking exploratory activities and forecasting significant emerging plays within a detailed historical context assists IHS clients to develop, acquire or expand existing acreage positions ahead of their competitors. However, sourcing information for this important region remains an ongoing challenge, there is a natural ebb and flow to the process, but retaining experienced technical staff, an extensive contact network and long standing relationships with Oil Ministries, concession operators and their partners enables the regional team to continue the comprehensive, accretionary compilation of energy related information throughout the region.

Activity levels in the Middle East region have continued to be impacted to some degree by low oil prices and political instability. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has seen a marked downturn in exploration activity in 2016 and activity levels in countries such as Syria and Yemen remain very low. In contrast, the lifting of some international sanctions on Iran has generated a great deal of interest throughout the year. A number of Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with international companies for technical feasibility studies of existing fields. Once the new Iran Petroleum Contract is finalised, bid rounds for development projects and exploration opportunities are expected to be released in 2017.

A number of team members contributed to international press reports, studies and industry journals. Claire Woolsey contributed an article to the PESGB Journal. Stuart and Sarah also provided a number of formal presentations within Europe, the Middle East and Asia including a Technical Keynote Presentation at an AAPG Geoscience Technology Workshop in Bahrain.

Database Enhancements – 2016

  • Basin Monitors – Damghan Basin, Garmsar Basin, Great Kavir Basin, Qazvin Basin all newly completed Basin Monitors and the Iran Zagros and north Iraq Zagros Fold Belts completely reviewed
  • Giant Fields – Completed 3 Giant (2P EUR >=500MMboe) Field Reviews which included a full revision of remarks, reserves, development, production volumes and IOR/EOR techniques
  • Structural Features – 11,300+ new structures for Iran were uploaded including anticlines, synclines, faults, thrusts and salt diapirs
  • Saudi Arabia – Updated 765 wells with header data
  • Saudi Arabia – Comprehensive well data updates made including stratigraphy and coordinates to 4 wells in Midyan and Al Wajah Basins, 2 wells entered
  • Iran – Names reviewed for 717 wells
  • Iran – Updated 10 wells (2 new, 1 removal) - with new dates, location and stratigraphy where available, updated 26 wells in the Darquain field either correcting locations or creating a new well entirely and updated 9 wells with test data in Azadegan field
  • Iran – Entered and quality checked 1208 geochemical properties over 151 geochemical samples in 30 wells within the Persian Gulf
  • Iran – Updated 518 wells with data ranging from coordinates, naming conventions and dates
  • Iran – Entered 20 historical Iran contracts, with dates ranging from 1872 up to 1957 and including multiple area changes and the historical D'Arcy Concession of 1901
  • Iraq – Updated 12 well locations in Taq Taq field
  • Iraq – Updated 367 wells with correct operator group
  • Iraq – Updated stratigraphy, geochemical data and coordinates for 5 wells in East Baghdad, 10 wells in Nasiriyah and 17 wells in Subba fields
  • Jordan – Entered 246 oil shale wells with coordinate, elevations, overburden and oil shale thickness, TD and stripping ratio
  • Kuwait – Updated 301 wells with improved coordinates and 563 wells with reliable datum
  • Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait – Updated 134 well locations and entered 120 wells (updated 15 and entered 1 in Iraq, updated 24 and entered 16 in Qatar, updated 4 in Jordan, updated 90 and entered 103 wells in Kuwait)
  • Oman – Entered 115 new production wells and updated 690 production wells across 11 fields for correct location, BH co-ordinates and deviation type
  • Oman – Entered and updated 39 exploration wells with header data
  • Oman – Updated 690 wells across 11 fields with correct location, BH coordinates ad deviation type
  • Turkey – 1,091 wells updated with missing attributes including 71 bottom hole formations, 381 spud/comp dates, 53 TD’s and 671 remarks and 105 stratigraphy
  • UAE, Abu Dhabi – Updated 130 wells including classification content, start and end dates
  • UAE, Abu Dhabi – Updated 450 wells with operator details and 424 wells with updated block information in Zakum field
  • Yemen – Updated 29 bottom hole locations and deviation types and 6 surface locations in the Habban field
  • Divided Zone – 327 development wells updated with missing TD’s
  • Middle East – Updated 87 stratigraphic and relief wells with content, status and classification
  • Middle East – 60 blocks outline were updated to correct overlaps or gaps between blocks in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman
  • Saudi Arabia and Yemen – 33 contract and 152 open blocks had their basin and political provinces re-calculated and corrected
  • Middle East – Updated the outlines of 575 historical blocks to fit with cultural lines such as borders and coastlines

For information relating to data improvements in 2015, download our Middle East Data Enhancements 2015 Summary

Regional Team
Stuart Lewis

Stuart Lewis is the Senior Director for International Upstream Content with more than 25 years experience in the International Oil and Gas industry. Stuart also supports the Middle East region, performing technical research and reporting. Based in Tetbury, Stuart can be contacted via email.

Sarah Haggas

Dr. Sarah Haggas is the Director of the Middle East region and has more than 15 years experience in the industry. Based in Tetbury, Sarah can be contacted via email.

Data Contents