Israeli greed, debt behind Lebanon energy law


Lebanon’s parliament has approved a new energy law which paves the way for exploration of offshore oil and natural gas.

The law was passed unanimously on Tuesday amid fears that neighboring Israel could intrude on Lebanese maritime territory as it starts to drill for gas in the Mediterranean later this year.

Lebanon has said it has identified reserves with promising quantities of natural gas, a resource that could help the government pay off its high national debt.

“The amount of debt and Israeli greed are major concerns,” Ali Hamdan, an aide to the parliamentary speaker, said of why consensus finally emerged around the new law after years of debate.

“Passing the law is a message that shows Lebanon is serious and persistent.”

Israeli drilling

Lebanon has said it would “use all means” to defend its rights if Israel was found to be drilling in Lebanese waters.

Hamdan said he expected exploration rights to be up for auction by the end of 2011.

US-based Noble Energy has announced plans to begin drilling in the massive Leviathan field offshore Israel in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Noble has also said it had discovered enough natural gas at the Israeli Tamar and Dalit offshore fields to meet Israel’s needs for years.

The announcements have increased tensions between Israel and Lebanon which do not have formal maritime borders and remain technically in a state of war.

The mistrust between the two neighbors is high and was embroiled in a deadly border clash earlier this month.

Hamdan said Lebanon planned to outline its own maritime borders and submit them to the UN Security Council.

Even though Lebanon has passed the energy law, it still has a long way to catch up with the Israelis in any offshore drilling.

It has to identify blocs, supply data to interested investors, select bidders and have companies start exploration work, while the Israelis already have firms ready to drill for gas.

Lebanon’s national debt currently stands at more than $50 billion, equivalent to about 148 per cent of gross domestic product.

Al Jazeera



5 responses to “Israeli greed, debt behind Lebanon energy law”

  1. yallah i hope that these MPs dont miss out on a golden egg here. you better use the money very wisely.

    1. Youssef Avatar

      and spread the joy amongst all Lebanese citizens…..

    2. jadmalak Avatar

      It sounds too good to be true… what a timing ISREAL will start drilling vertually at the same time we will….all that time the solution for our national debt was so close under our waters and we did nothing about it…,i wonder!!!! Anyways as they say better late than never….speed the drilling schedule up people and get us back from the Girbeh as we miss our country dispite all the bad things and politics that it is tearing it apart…I Love Lebanon with all my heart and so does so many people here in Gerbeh with me…

      Evertime I do something that benefits the country I am in now I wish in my heart I was able to do it for our Lebanon and I wished it benefited all my countrymen regardless to their religion and political views…I wish the love of the Lebanese for each other and their country was the same as I love my country and its people.

      You know it kills me a thousand time in my heart everytiime I hear non-Lebanese about the great time they have spent in Lebanon in the Winter and Summer and me not being able to enjoy my own country as I boiling in the desert here…

      Get us Back….PLEASE

  2. It’s greedy to drill in our own continental shelf? I think that needs further explanation.

    1. Adam, your country is known for being greedy and stealing land.

      they are just afraid that you will start claiming that israel’s water “ends” a lot further and into lebanon’s water.

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