The administration of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman is expected to send legislation to parliament for the approval of offshore drilling, officials said.
A committee in the Lebanese parliament is expected to review the draft legislation during a Tuesday session before sending the measure onto the full legislature, Lebanon’s An-Nahar newspaper reports.
Water Resources Minister Jebran Bassil said he expected the measure to pass quickly.
“All parties are represented in the Cabinet along with the parliament and we will cooperate to approve this law,” he was quoted as saying.
He added it was important to demarcate the maritime border with Israel to prevent Lebanon’s southern neighbor from encroaching on its sovereign territory.
Israel said it was eyeing the Leviathan natural gas field near Haifa, which extends into Lebanese waters.
Israel has been dependent on oil and coal imported from Mexico and Norway. The reserves in the natural gas site mean Israel can fulfill its gas demand for the next two decades and may be able to ship natural gas to Europe and Asia.
The Leviathan field could hold as much as 16 trillion square feet of natural gas. UPI