Lebanon approves 46 firms in oil, gas licensing round


Lebanon approves 46 firms in oil, gas licensing round


BEIRUT -- Lebanon has shortlisted 46 international oil firms, including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total, for its first oil and natural gas licensing round in its Mediterranean coastal waters, the Petroleum Administration said.

ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total are also among 12 firms that have been pre-qualified as operators. Others are Statoil, Shell and Eni, the administration said on its website.

It added that 34 firms were shortlisted for non-operator status including Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC), Russia’s Rosneft and Japan's Inpex.

Lebanon, which passed an oil law in 2010 and formed a petroleum board last year, is opening prospects for exploration because it hopes sizeable discoveries could bring in funds to help cut its high level of government debt and to meet its domestic power demands. Geophysical data covering the exploration area in the eastern Mediterranean already indicate that the region contains several trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Last month, the country's energy minister, Gibran Bassil, said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires that the country plans to award the contracts in February of 2014.

Pre-qualified explorers, which will be allowed to do exploration work in waters close to Israel and Cyprus, can place their bids by May 2. Once qualified, companies will have to form consortia comprising at least three members to participate in the licensing round.

Dow Jones Newswires

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