Several key Lebanese politicians have indicated this week that plans to breathe life back into the country’s much-delayed offshore oil and gas bid round are progressing, albeit at the slow pace typical of Lebanese policymaking. Perhaps indicating that a breakthrough in political deadlock is approaching, leaders on both sides of the country’s political spectrum suggest that the country’s disparate factions may soon agree to the text of the outstanding cabinet decrees governing fiscal terms and the number, size and shape of offshore blocks. According to the most recent iteration of the bid round schedule, bidding will close six months after the day the cabinet passes the two remaining decrees.
Talk is cheap, however, and it remains unclear if the bid round will benefit from a more positive political atmosphere. Indeed, MEES understands that the entire oil and gas file has spent months on ice – with essentially no progress whatsoever towards advancing the bid round since the end of former President Michel Sulaiman’s term in May of 2014. Political deadlock thwarted the election of a new president, and Lebanon has since faced a vacuum in its executive branch of government. (CONTINUED - 367 WORDS)