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Lebanon set to offer five offshore exploration blocks

Staff Writer |
Lebanon intends to restart its first oil and gas licensing round after a three-year delay, energy minister Cesar Abou Khalil said.

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In its first sitting since being formed in December, Lebanon’s new cabinet passed two decrees defining the blocks and specifying conditions for production and exploration tenders and contracts.

Lebanon will offer five offshore blocks for exploration and production and is to hold another pre-qualification round for companies interested in bidding, said the minister of energy and water Cesar Abou Khalil.

The government may qualify more bidders for its first sale of offshore energy licences, and it plans later to announce dates for the historic auction, Mr Khalil said Thursday in Beirut.

"The number of blocks that will be auctioned off in the first licensing round will be five, in line with the gradual auctioning strategy we are pursuing." The government plans eventually to offer a total of 10 offshore blocks for exploration.

The decrees demarcate energy blocks, specify tender protocols and establish the use of production-sharing contracts with investing companies.

Production-sharing contracts will enable investors to share any oil and gas output with the Lebanese government, in contrast to service contracts that would pay the companies a fixed fee for whatever they produce, regardless of market prices.

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