Lebanon Businessnews News

Oil drilling bid in May
Cabinet approves terms of reference
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The Cabinet approved today (December 27) the executive decrees for launching the first round of licensing to award offshore oil and gas drilling rights. The decrees include the terms of reference needed for the bid. The Cabinet plans to invite interested companies to apply for a prequalifications round in February 2013. The offical bid for the prequalified firms will be launched on May 2.

“Lebanon is now ready for the bidding rounds,” said Zaher Sleiman, oil and gas consultant at the Ministry of Energy and Water. According to Sleiman, the Petroleum Regulatory Authority (PRA) will now call on interested consortiums to bid for exploration rights and will assess their eligibility to participate in licensing rounds. The PRA is in charge of all oil exploration activities, including the preparation of the executive decrees for launching the bids.

“The PRA will also divide the geographical blocks to determine their location and value,” he said. The six-member PRA will supervise bidding procedures as well as the overall activities related to the oil and gas sector.

Salah Khayat, CEO at Petroleb, a local oil and gas company, said the company plans to participate in the bidding, as part of a major consortium in the first licensing round. Earlier, UK’s Cairn Energy announced that it had formed a consortium with US-based Marathon Oil Company, Lebanon-based CCEnergy, a company associated to CCC contractors, and Dutch firm Oranje-Nassau Energy.

UK-based oil and gas services provider Spectrum, which completed its 3D seismic survey of offshore oil in September, said the southwest area of the coast (covering 3,000 square kilometers) has over 25 trillion cubic feet of gas. It also said the value of undersea oil and gas is estimated at $40 billion.

Several other international companies had expressed their interest in applying for drilling rights. Some 26 companies bought surveys of the offshore area.

Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Dec 27, 2012
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