440 to 675 mil. barrels of oil reserves off coast of Lebanon

Lebanon offshore oil gas basinFrench consultant Beicip Franlab published a report in which it estimates the reserve potential offshore Lebanon at 440 million-675 million barrels of oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to UPI.

The new oil reserves were found off Lebanon’s northern maritime boundary with Cyprus and Syria, and could generate billions of dollars.

The Lebanese government is pressing ahead with plans to court international energy investors to explore potential offshore reserves. The offshore area is considered frontier territory, though Beirut has said parts of the Leviathan natural gas field offshore Israel are in its territorial waters.

The Lebanese and Cypriot governments in January agreed to increase cooperation in the offshore natural gas sector.

Energy Minister Jebran Bassil told the Al Nahar daily that “the discovery constitutes an additional income for Lebanon and would attract important oil exploration companies.”

Bassil also told the daily that Lebanon will launch the tenders within the upcoming few days, revealing that there will be more “pleasant news soon” concerning the matter.

Years behind neighbors

Large potential natural gas reserves were found several years ago in what is called the Levantine Basin. A U.S. Geological Survey said in 2010 the Levant Basin contains 123 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and around 2 billion barrels of oil.

Under maritime law, the basin region was to be shared between Cyprus (an EU country) Israel and Lebanon. Of the former two countries they were quick off the mark in getting into the bidding business, forging relationships with exploratory and drilling companies and generally preparing to do business.

Where was Lebanon during this period? The Republic was spending two years forming a six-member “Petroleum Administration” to handle tenders from companies bidding on exploration blocks. Now at last the Petroleum Administration has been formed.

Plagued by slow-motion politics and Lebanon’s well-known sectarian splits, the Lebanese government is now effectively years behind neighbors Israel and Cyprus in moving forward on exploration.

Also experts note, the regional upheavals, including both domestic Lebanese problems and the increasingly volatile Syrian war don’t make the Levant an attractive place to do business with companies that value stability and the transparent rule of law.

Independent Middle East analyst Nicholas A. Heras, of the Washington, DC-based Jamestown Foundation, said in a recent foundation report that the “questions remain whether regional instability coupled with Lebanon’s ongoing political deadlock, sometimes deadly social conflict and insufficient infrastructure will prevent it from benefiting from resource revenues.”

He added that, “In the foreseeable future, the potential political conflict over the exploitation of energy resources off the coast of Lebanon is most likely to follow the predictable pattern of conflict between the March 14 and March 8 blocs. It will accentuate the long-simmering public debate inside Lebanon over the deficiencies of public infrastructure and services that affect the daily lives of Lebanese citizens.”

In recent comments, Lebanese energy analyst Rudi Baroudi, chief executive officer of Qatar’s World Energy Council, emphasized the importance of official transparency, particularly after the gas reserves are tapped and begin to generate revenue that can either end up in the public coffer or the pockets of officials.

Also, in a move that might concern foreign companies, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah pledged in early January to “defend” Lebanese oil claims over a dispute between the Levant and Israel regarding overlapping maritime territories.

Experts note that the Petroleum Administration and the Cabinet will have to take timely decisions at each stage in order to allow the process to move forward. Such decisions include the parameters for the tendering process, assessment of the bids, terms of contracts, award of contracts, and use of proceeds, among others.

lebanon oil gas summit-2013The Petroleum Administration has the mandate for undergoing the relevant technical and legal work prior to any negotiations with the oil companies. But in adding to the bureaucratic levels of review, the Administration is not responsible for preparing the specifications for the all-important bidding process until after the Cabinet approves a criterion for the “pre-qualification” stage.

The pre-qualification round is scheduled to begin in early February.

Authorities, including Energy Minister Bassil have emphasized that after qualification, the selection of companies for bidding would be finalized by no later than 2014 and actual exploration begin by 2017, though a Citigroup report expressed marked skepticism on this and set the date at closer to 2020.

Bassil has said that nearly 30 international companies have shown interest in bidding for gas and oil exploration and drilling.

Metropolis

  • MekensehParty

    Great… more resources to fight the Zionists (sarcastic)

    • Moe28

      More resources to better the infrastructure and better The Lebanese military Anti Air and a Airforce.

      • master09

        What about hospitals, pensions, electricity and a thousand other things that Lebanon does not do for the people and we must better the anti air and military to fight WHAT???…. ohhh sorry thats rite the JEWS… Forget them because they are our biggest problem that they might steal our sahtaar…how about BETTER THE PEACE…. SO LEBANON CAN LIVE A BETTER LIFE……..LEBANON CAN BECOME ONE OF THE BIGGEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR ARABS AND OTHERS AND ALL WE WANT IS WAR……GOOD WORK…..

        • AntiFSA1

          We are not the ones who want war Master09, We are the ones who are left to defend ourselves because of the outside influences. It’s a bit of a difference. However I agree with you, If only the money can put in the right places. As you said, electricity would be nice.

        • 5thDrawer

          You could add ‘garbage collection’ to the list … but it becomes a long list, doesn’t it?
          The whole concept of ‘Infrastructure’ is overcome by mini-despots and ‘religious’ talking-heads. Rivers don’t run red with blood – it’s an annual chemical run-off instead.

          And I’m sure it’s not ‘the people’ who want to see it that way – but they become inured to it after such a long time of seeing how the ‘system’ fails them time and time again. The ‘99%’ throw up their hands and try to survive in it ….
          But doesn’t everyone (perhaps outside of the usual %age of casual thieves in any society ) WANT to have a country that functions?? ONE country instead of a collection of un-workable fiefs? Isn’t it time ‘the people’ began to VOTE with that idea in mind … FIRST !!
          When the first thought is always about ‘military might’, with a relatively tiny population on such a small piece of land, it becomes a joke in this day and age. Indeed, all these ‘wars’ we wave flags about are little skirmishes in a sense of relativity in the larger world, and only sorrowful and shameful to have happened at all in a changing world of thought. The peasants always paid in blood – but that was ‘old world’ thinking. Why can’t Lebanon get it’s collective ass in gear for a new world … and BE together?
          So there’s a chance with new-found resources ?? Use that properly – FOR the country.
          Make friends with the tiny country to the south, and the biggest boy on the world-block who will allow you to keep your identity, and do the business properly – FOR Lebanon.

  • MekensehParty

    Great… more resources to fight the Zionists (sarcastic)

    • Moe28

      More resources to better the infrastructure and better The Lebanese military Anti Air and a Air force.

      • master09

        What about hospitals, pensions, electricity and a thousand other things that Lebanon does not do for the people and we must better the anti air and military to fight WHAT???…. ohhh sorry thats rite the JEWS… Forget them because they are our biggest problem that they might steal our sahtaar…how about BETTER THE PEACE…. SO LEBANON CAN LIVE A BETTER LIFE……..LEBANON CAN BECOME ONE OF THE BIGGEST TOURIST DESTINATION FOR ARABS AND OTHERS AND ALL WE WANT IS WAR……GOOD WORK…..

        • AntiFSA1

          We are not the ones who want war Master09, We are the ones who are left to defend ourselves because of the outside influences. It’s a bit of a difference. However I agree with you, If only the money can put in the right places. As you said, electricity would be nice.

        • 5thDrawer

          You could add ‘garbage collection’ to the list … but it becomes a long list, doesn’t it?
          The whole concept of ‘Infrastructure’ is overcome by mini-despots and ‘religious’ talking-heads. Rivers don’t run red with blood – it’s an annual chemical run-off instead.

          And I’m sure it’s not ‘the people’ who want to see it that way – but they become inured to it after such a long time of seeing how the ‘system’ fails them time and time again. The ‘99%’ throw up their hands and try to survive in it ….
          But doesn’t everyone (perhaps outside of the usual %age of casual thieves in any society ) WANT to have a country that functions?? ONE country instead of a collection of un-workable fiefs? Isn’t it time ‘the people’ began to VOTE with that idea in mind … FIRST !!
          When the first thought is always about ‘military might’, with a relatively tiny population on such a small piece of land, it becomes a joke in this day and age. Indeed, all these ‘wars’ we wave flags about are little skirmishes in a sense of relativity in the larger world, and only sorrowful and shameful to have happened at all in a changing world of thought. The peasants always paid in blood – but that was ‘old world’ thinking. Why can’t Lebanon get it’s collective ass in gear for a new world … and BE together?
          So there’s a chance with new-found resources ?? Use that properly – FOR the country.
          Make friends with the tiny country to the south, and the biggest boy on the world-block who will allow you to keep your identity, and do the business properly – FOR Lebanon.

  • Hannibal

    That is enough energy to lift all of Lebanon from poverty… That is if those thieves running the country don’t get to it before the people.

    • 5thDrawer

      And then, send it off to Syria for Assad’s boys as reports have it this week.

      • Hannibal

        so very true… Forgot about that one… Shame on me. 😉

        • 5thDrawer

          The funny thing is, those black blobs are closer to Syria than to Israel … why are Hezzy’s threatening Israel about the ‘ocean dividing lines’ at all??
          Perhaps it’s a reason a Tripoli fisherman’s son was killed by Syria, however … hmmm …

  • Hannibal

    That is enough energy to lift all of Lebanon from poverty… That is if those thieves running the country don’t get to it before the people.

    • 5thDrawer

      And then, send it off to Syria for Assad’s boys as reports have it this week.

      • Hannibal

        so very true… Forgot about that one… Shame on me. 😉

        • 5thDrawer

          The funny thing is, those black blobs are closer to Syria than to Israel … why are Hezzy’s threatening Israel about the ‘ocean dividing lines’ at all??

  • master09

    The money will be divided like so. 2% for electricity roads and health. 1% to education and the poor.
    25% running cost. And the grand prize of 72% to the people running our country, the honest polies, Job well done.

  • master09

    The money will be divided like so. 2% for electricity roads and health. 1% to education and the poor.
    25% running cost. And the grand prize of 72% to the people running our country, the honest polies, Job well done.

  • Jason borne

    Youre probably right this dirt poor country will choose to spend the revenue on defense rather than say, not shooting missiles at civilian targets out of nowhere and be shocked that Israel has the temerity to defend themselves. Of course they will need to do so from schools and hospitals dressed as women to ensure their own civilians get killed.

  • Jason borne

    Youre probably right this dirt poor country will choose to spend the revenue on defense rather than say, not shooting missiles at civilian targets out of nowhere and be shocked that Israel has the temerity to defend themselves. Of course they will need to do so from schools and hospitals dressed as women to ensure their own civilians get killed.