Lebanon’s authorities approved an exploration plan submitted by a consortium of Total, Eni and Novatek to search for its first oil and gas reserves. According to Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abi Khalil, Lebanon wants to launch a second offshore round by the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.
According to Reuters, Lebanon signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production agreements in February, with the Total, Eni, Novatek consortium for offshore Blocks 4 and 9.
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The exploration period can last up to three years and the first well will probably be drilled in 2019. Necessary for this is that the government will grant the necessary licenses and permissions timely.
The drilling will determine if Lebanon had commercial reserves and what their scale is, the Minister said.
As far as the second round, Mr. Khalil did not reveal which of the 10 offshore blocks will be included in a second licensing round, but he informed that authorities are considering to modify the current qualification criteria for firms interested in the next round.
Lebanon had attempted to launch its first offshore exploration in 2013 but domestic political problems delayed it until 2017. This development raised obstacles in the first licensing round. Nevertheless, Total, ENI, and Novatek’s consortium submitted.
Cesar Abi Khalil hopes that market conditions in 2019 will be better, which along with the companies’ positive experience in the first round will drive to more participation in the second round.