Lebanese President Michel Sulaiman and caretaker PM Najib Miqati remain firmly opposed to caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil’s plans to close the bid round for rights to explore for offshore oil and gas on 10 January. A member of Lebanon’s Petroleum Administration board tells MEES that precisely nothing will happen on 10 January. Yet the issue is mired in confusion: IOCs are unsure what to make of continued pronouncements by Mr Basil that 10 January 2014 is the final deadline for companies to submit their bids.

The deadline, like much of the bid round process, has become a political football – and Mr Basil may have backed himself into a corner in a media blitz that has included an appearance on Bloomberg TV. He has repeatedly declared that the bid round will be held according to his latest schedule, despite the fact that two key ministerial decrees, delineating offshore blocks and outlining fiscal terms, remain unsigned. There is no end in sight to Lebanon’s political woes, as prime minister-designate Tammam Salam remains unable to muster an inter-coalition agreement and form a new government. Lebanon has limped along without a government since the resignation of then-prime minister Miqati in March. (CONTINUED - 280 WORDS)