The schedule for Lebanon’s first licensing round offering rights to explore offshore blocks for hydrocarbons was unveiled by the Council of Ministers on 27 December. The council also discussed the final set of cabinet-level decrees, such as the one governing model contracts, that are needed to kick-start offshore development. Though a delay in the approval of hydrocarbon-sector decrees could postpone the start of the first bid round, the council is understood to be prepared to address the issue in the coming weeks. The implementation of these decrees, a requirement of the 2010 Petroleum Law, will clear lingering political and legal obstacles and should enable Lebanon to hold its first licensing round according to the set schedule.

Favorable results of 3D seismic surveys conducted by UK-based Spectrum and Norway-based Petroleum Geo-Services have attracted growing interest in the planned first bid round. Speaking to the Lebanon International Oil and Gas Forum in Beirut on 3 December, Spectrum’s Neil Hodgson revealed that surveys conducted to the north and east of the Levant basin within Lebanon’s exclusive economic zone signify the presence of recoverable oil – this is in addition to likely gas fields in other parts of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). (CONTINUED - 758 WORDS)