Lebanon Enables Licensing Round
Lebanon will try to catch up with its southern neighbour, Israel, in the race for energy riches when it auctions five offshore areas for gas exploration later this year.
In early January the Lebanese government approved two decrees that will allow for a licensing round to go forward. The two decrees pertain to the designation of blocks in Lebanon's exclusive economic zone; and the terms of the exploration and production agreement (EPA).
The government also approved two ministerial committees to evaluate tax on gas and oil activities. The prime minister, Saad Hairiri, will head the two committees and their recommendations will be submitted to parliament for approval.
This first licensing round will take place three years after a previous attempt to auction off exploration blocks failed to materialise owing to political turmoil in the country. This time there were also disagreements between the main political parties in the country, according to An-Nahar, a website.
The main issue was whether to auction off all the blocks or do it gradually. The latter approach won the day. According to the Lebanese Petroleum Authority's website there are ten blocks in all, which have been marked as shown here.
Cesar Abou Khalil
Lebanon’s energy minister Cesar Abou Khalil told journalists after the decrees were approved that his office was devising a road map showing the operational steps to be taken before the contracts could be signed.