In January 2017 Lebanon relaunched the licensing round which has been on hold for three years pending a resolution to the political crisis which had left the country without a president for much of that period.
In 2013, 46 companies had qualified to take part in bidding for oil and gas tenders in Lebanon, 12 of them as operators. These companies will remain qualified and there will be a second prequalification round for other interested companies, which will close at the end of March, with the list of qualifiers to be announced on April 13. Bids must then be submitted by September 15, and the awards will be announced in November 2017.
Five offshore blocks (1, 4, 8, 9 and 10), covering a total of 8,575 km2, are open to bids. The majority of the offered area is in relatively shallow water, although water depths in Block 8 exceed 2,000m in places. The three southern blocks, (8, 9 and 10) are partially in territory which is disputed by Israel. Lebanon’s offshore area is located in the Levant Basin, where in recent years a number of giant gas fields have been discovered in Israeli, Egyptian and Cypriot waters.
According to President Michel Aoun, Lebanon hopes to start production in 2018 and will deposit the revenues in a sovereign wealth fund.