Lebanon Bidding Risks Stalling Amid Major Pullback

Lebanon’s relaunched offshore bid round risks flopping. With only five blocks on offer and three of these contested with Israel, the number of firms looking to operate has fallen to just six from 13 in 2014. ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell are among those to have pulled back.

Lebanon’s Energy Ministry in January re-launched the country’s eagerly-awaited maiden offshore bid round after four years of delays. On 26 April it released a list of 13 companies that have qualified as operators and 38 companies that have qualified as non-operators (see table).

But interest is less buoyant than this would suggest: of the 51 qualifiers, some 46 are rollovers from 2013 when the bidding process first kicked off only to be aborted.

The firms that prequalified for bidding in 2013 were automatically put through to the new bid round. But, despite the ministry asking firms wishing to participate this time to update their files, MEES learns that just 23 of the 46 have done so. The fall off in the number of companies actively expressing an interest to operate blocks (and qualified to do so) is even more stark, with a mere six this time round, down from 12. Although 13 companies are officially listed as qualified as operators (the 12 from 2013, plus Indian state firm ONGC Videsh which was upgraded from ‘non-operator’), only six have actively expressed an interest this time round. (CONTINUED - 1412 WORDS)


table Lebanon Bid Round Pre-Qualifiers