Israel has asked the US and the UN to pressure Lebanon to change the oil and gas exploration tenders being planned by the latter in five maritime blocks. Three of these blocks are within Israel’s marine border and overlap the 800 sq.km. of marine territory disputed by the two countries. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice is promoting a marine areas bill that has been proposed for years, which among other things determines Israel’s marine territory, including the disputed area.
After many years of preparations and postponements, the Lebanese government published six weeks ago a call to oil and gas exploration companies to submit their candidacy for the preliminary stage of the new tender. The filing deadline for the preliminary stage is the end of March. If it goes ahead, it will be the first such tender for Lebanon.
2,700 BCM natural gas potential
Lebanon believes that its economic waters contain 850 million barrels of oil and no less than 2,700 BCM of natural gas, similar to Israel’s potential, including the fields that have already been discovered. Commenting at last week’s Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference (EMGC) in Nicosia, Cyprus on the chances of finding oil and gas, Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) chairman Wissam Edmond Chbat said that Block 1 had medium-to-high potential for discovering fossil fuels, Block 4 had medium potential for discovering oil, gas, and perhaps condensate, Block 8 had high potential for gas and a little condensate, and Blocks 9 and 10 had especially high chances for discovering oil, gas, and condensate. He added that most of the gas found would be exported.
The Lebanese government hopes to receive final offers from companies competing for exploration of the blocks in September, and to announce the winners in November.
During the conference, Lebanese representatives were asked whether the blocks overlapped the disputed territory, and answered that there was almost no overlap. At a conference of oil and gas…