Lebanon’s First Bid Round Likely Pushed Back To 2015

Lebanon’s bickering government will not address the two decrees needed to proceed with the country’s first ever bid round – delineating offshore blocks and outlining fiscal terms – until parliament elects a new president and a government is installed. This all but eliminates the possibility of moving forward this year.

Lebanon’s Energy Minister, Arthur Nazarian, said last month that the deadline for oil and gas companies to submit their bids would be pushed back yet again, with the moving target now set for 14 August. Ongoing political deadlock will stymie his plans, however.

After months of politicking, the country’s disparate parties and factions failed to elect a new president before the expiration of former President Michel Suleiman’s term on 25 May. The powers of the presidency were transferred to the council of ministers, as per constitutional requirements in the case of a presidential vacuum. But Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s government has yet to agree on how it will execute those powers – a deadlock that is threatening to unravel Mr Salam’s cabinet. (CONTINUED - 1024 WORDS)