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Speaker Nabih Berri told An-Nahar newspaper in remarks published on Wednesday that the Lebanese cabinet must speed up its work to begin extracting offshore oil.

“Some still do not even believe that Lebanon will become an oil rich country ,” Berri said adding: “Are we supposed to invite them to swim in the oil fields to believe it ?”

Berri also told the daily that he discussed Lebanon’s oil exploration with United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly.

” I informed him that Lebanon will not give up on its oil reserves no matter what the challenges are,” Berri said.

In other remarks published in As-Safir newspaper, Berri said that Hezbollah and the Amal Movement submitted a name of a Shiite candidate for the management committee of oil exploration.

“We are doing our best to facilitate forming this committee, and it is the cabinet’s duty to form it as soon as possible so oil drilling may begin,” Berri added.

Israel has been exploring its oil and gas reserves while Lebanon has been dillydallying with the issue . According to the most recent reports the dispute between Hezbollah and Amal over the naming of the Shiite candidate for the management committee of oil exploration is behind the delay.

Last year US oil and gas producer Noble Energy announced that it has discovered two enormous natural gas fields, containing as much as 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, off the Mediterranean coastline.

The largest part of the discovery is the Leviathan gas field, which is believed to contain 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (valued at more than USD 95 billion) and, 4.2 billion barrels of oil.

The field is located in the joint regional waters between Lebanon , Israel and Gaza

Lebanon claims that it owns a major part of Leviathan.

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