The open data map of oil concessions extends to 18 countries in the Middle East

OpenOil is happy to announce the second stage of the world’s first open data map of oil concessions – the Middle East and North Africa. The addition includes 18 jurisdictions across the region, from Oman and Iraqi Kurdistan in the east to Algeria and Morocco in the West, making a total now of 53 jurisdictions and 3,400-odd blocks in the map as a whole. We are on course to add another 50 countries around the world by the end of the year.

We have also upgraded the functionality:

The real value of the data comes when people take it and combine it with other layers. Imagine, for example, overlaying this view of Syria and Iraq with maps which show the frontline in the war there – showing which blocks are now controlled by ISIS and which companies therefore have historical information which could help assess the current and future potential, based on knowledge of reservoirs and engineering, of ISIS as an oil producer (the answer seems to include currently Shell, the Croatian national oil company INA, but most of all the Syrian state oil company SPC. One wonders whether Bashar al-Assad has ordered his technicians to share the information with any of his allies, like the Russians and Iranians, for example).

Or the Eastern Mediterranean region: as knowledge of the oil and gas in the ground develops, known reservoirs of interest to companies like Nobel and Eni are abutting each other in the waters of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. No wonder, then, that Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi met Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week to discuss possible integration of new finds in Egyptian waters with existing and planned infrastructure in the Israeli offshore – even though, of course, such connections are highly politically charged.

The map is the best that currently be done with maps published openly on the Internet. But the Eastern Med is an example of the limitations of that. The Egyptian portion is based on a 2012 map issued by the government, predating the Eni discoveries. We will be updating it in the next week with more recent data around these specific fields, and producing a deeper analysis of this story, a classic interplay between geography, politics and the oil business.

The map is powered on the back end by a unified editing system which we will open to structured user contributions, to get to the goal of a global and updated map, folding in all other significant information in the open data space.

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