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Old June 27th, 2012, 12:38 PM   #201
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Originally Posted by AmeriLEB View Post
Cyprus seeks amicable solution for maritime border zone
June 27, 2012 12:53 AM
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said Tuesday that he would continue to seek an equitable solution for the maritime border zone dispute between the regional states once he becomes president of the European Union in four days.

During a regional conference on energy in Nicosia, Christofias admitted to the participants in a Q&A session that there are some complicated border disputes between countries sharing the maritime border zone, adding that these topics should be sorted out soon.

Lebanon insisted on redrawing the economic maritime border zone which it shares with Cyprus and Israel. The zone is supposed to have large quantities of natural gas.

Lebanon is demanding the U.N. oversee the demarcation of the maritime border zone in order to determine the country’s actual territorial borders.

The government has not yet issued a tender to explore oil and gas offshore.

Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil, one of the speakers at the one-day conference, told participants that Lebanon insists on rectifying the mistakes of the maritime demarcation and stressed that his country wants another demarcation that will win the approval of the government.

Bassil said that dozens of companies have bought geophysical data that contains information on the reserves off the Lebanese coast.

“We can proudly say, thanks to these findings, that there is high probability for the success of drilling and exploration,” Bassil said.

He added that Lebanon is determined to exercise its full rights over the entire maritime economic zone which belongs to Lebanon.

“We expect from our friends, the Cypriots, to make an extra effort to avoid the fatal technical mistake which occurred between Cyprus and Israel when the border zone between both countries was drawn,” the minister explained.

Leading energy expert and secretary-general of the World Energy Council Lebanon, Roudi Baroudi urged the countries with claims in the area to focus first on what could be done without exacerbating tensions and then on how disputes could be resolved peacefully

“None of the countries involved can afford to have their economic fortunes sunk by gunboat diplomacy,” Baroudi said on the sidelines of the event.

“The value of the energy deposits in question is nothing short of gargantuan, so there’s plenty to go around. Negotiating mechanisms for dispute resolution and joint development wouldn’t be easy, but the payoffs – for all concerned – would be enormous.”

Baroudi’s comments echoed his presentation to the forum, which stressed dialogue and cooperation as a means of maximizing benefit from the Levant Basin.

At average prices for the current year, the deposits in question were recently estimated to hold $170 billion worth of oil and a staggering $1.9 trillion worth of gas. For perspective, the latter figure amounts to 13 percent of all the goods and services produced in the United States in 2010,” he said.

Baroudi has urged all parties to at least start defining their Exclusive Economic Zones, and place their trust in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the International Court of Justice when it comes to adjudicating disputes over maritime boundaries.

Christofias said Cyprus’ role in the global energy map has been enhanced, following the discovery of natural gas in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone. International interest for the second Licensing Round has increased.

“A total of 33 applications from 15 companies [and] joint ventures from 14 countries, including France, the U.S., Russia, South Korea, Malaysia, Italy and Australia were finally submitted. As a consequence, new perspectives are opening up, giving new impetus to Cyprus’ role within the global energy system and the European energy market,” the Cypriot president said.

He added that the eastern Mediterranean Sea region could be transformed into an area of common borders and interests for everyone, offering prospects for peace, prosperity and progress in the wider area.

“At long last, we have the historic opportunity to work sincerely, constructively and in good faith for the benefit of our people,” Christofias said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 27, 2012, on page 5.

I really hope our politicians will finally do some work on this subject and we see some progress. on the other side I am really afraid lebanon will stay as it is because of the corrupt elite that will take more money after all of this...
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Old July 16th, 2012, 11:17 PM   #202
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Jul 16 2012
The Daily Star
Lebanon ranks seventh for oil, gas investment

16 July 2012

BEIRUT: Lebanon ranked seventh in Middle East and North Africa in terms of attractiveness for upstream oil and gas investment, according to a recent report by the Fraser Institute, a public policy research organization.

In its sixth annual edition of the “2012 Global Petroleum Survey,” which assesses 147 jurisdictions for attractiveness and barriers to investments in the oil industry, the Canada-based institute put Lebanon in 71st place on a global scale, with a score of 45.61.

The survey assesses barriers to investment in the petroleum industry in terms of tax rates, the cost of regulatory schemes, environmental regulations, the interpretation and administration of regulations governing the petroleum industry and security threats. The lower a jurisdiction scores, the more attractive it is to investors

Lebanon is set to soon finalize appointments at the Petroleum Administration – a body that oversees the sector – after which the first licensing round for oil and gas exploration off the country’s coast will take place.

Twenty percent of interviewed executives and managers deemed the country’s political stability a “mild deterrent to investment” in the petroleum industry, while more than 30 percent considered instability to be a “strong deterrent.”

Back in August 2011, Parliament passed a law setting Lebanon’s maritime boundary and Exclusive Economic Zone. Parliament subsequentlysubmitted a maritime map to the United Nations, which conflicts significantly to one proposed by Israel.

Lebanon argues that its map falls in line with an armistice drawn up in 1949, an agreement which is not contested by Israel.

The disputed zone is roughly 854-square-kilometers wide, and energy reserves there could generate billions of dollars.

At average prices for 2012, the energy deposits in the Levant Basin were recently estimated by experts to hold oil worth $170 billion and gas worth $1.9 trillion.

Besides instability, Lebanon’s regulatory climate, environmental regulations, cost of regulatory compliance and trade barriers were regarded by executives and managers as “mild deterrents to investment.”

Lebanon ranked better than Bahrain, which came in eighth place regionally and 78th globally with a score of 49.71.

The survey said regional political stalemate has crippled investment activity in Bahrain’s petroleum industry.

Qatar ranked first regionally and 32nd globally, with a score of 25.42, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Globally, the United States topped the list of attractive countries for oil and gas investments with seven states ranking among the top 10 most favorable jurisdictions for investment.

© Copyright The Daily Star 2012.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 01:57 AM   #203
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Lebanon to name board for launch of offshore oil, gas bidding process

August 24, 2012 01:29 AM
By Nayla Razzouk

Lebanon’s Cabinet is in the final stages of appointing a body that will organize bids for the country’s first offshore oil and natural-gas exploration licenses, an adviser to the energy minister said.

“We are just one step before the launch of the licensing round, which is the appointment of the board of the Petroleum Administration,” Cesar Abi Khalil said Thursday in a telephone interview. Cabinet will soon name the six members of the Petroleum Administration, which will decide on the date for the licensing round, he said.

“Out of 620 people, we preselected 50 people and from these, we preselected 18 people: three candidates for each seat,” he said. “The Council of Ministers is due to decide on this, we hope, in the next few weeks.”

Dozens of international companies are interested in the licenses and have bought geophysical data covering Lebanon’s waters in the eastern Mediterranean, he said.

“We have a 25-percent ratio in drilling success for hydrocarbons, which is significantly higher than what is usually considered as a high ratio of about 15 percent.”

Geophysical data for the sub-sea has covered all of Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and some areas have been covered by 3-D surveys, he said.

The licensing round will offer production-sharing contracts as set by the offshore petroleum resources law, Abi Khalil said. The government is also preparing for a liquefied natural gas terminal and a gas distribution pipeline network that will link power plants and industrial sites along the coast.

The country is seeking to catch up since 2009 with neighboring Israel, which discovered enough fuel off its northern coast for itself and to potentially start exports. Lebanon has asked the U.N. to adopt measures to prevent a conflict with Israel over energy exploration in areas that may fall within Lebanese territorial waters.

Israel’s then-National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau said in June 2010 that his government was willing to use force to protect its undersea gas finds, and Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah has repeatedly pledged to protect the country’s offshore resources.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 08:53 PM   #204
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Executive insight: Who owns the sea?

By Malek Takieddine on September 03, 2012

The Lebanese claims to its disputed exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean are relatively strong from a legal perspective.

Malek Takieddine is a Lebanese lawyer working in the oil and gas industryIn January 2007, Cyprus and Lebanon, both signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), signed an agreement on the delimitation of their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) based on the internationally accepted method of equidistance, which consists of determining a median line between two opposite or adjacent coastlines.

Two years later, major offshore natural gas reserves were discovered off the Israeli coast with the potential to satisfy Israel’s domestic energy needs and make the country a substantial exporter. In January 2009 the Tamar Field was discovered near the port city of Haifa containing 240 billion cubic metres (BCM) of natural gas, while the 14 BCM Dalit Field near the northern city of Hadera was tapped in April that year and in June 2010 the world’s largest gas discovery of the decade was made at the Leviathan off the coast of Haifa, with approximately 460 BCM of natural gas. In 2010, the United States Geological Survey estimated that the entire Levant Basin, encompassing parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus, could contain as much as 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 3.45 trillion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas. For comparison: Iraq, ranked as the 11th country worldwide in proven gas reserves, has 3.1 trillion cubic meters of gas.

In July 2010 and October 2010, Lebanon submitted to the United Nations the charts and lists of geographical coordinates of points marking the Southern Median Line and the Southern Part of the Western Median Line, to delimit its EEZ.

In December 2010, Israel and Cyprus concluded and ratified their own agreement on the delimitation of the EEZ. Israel deposited its own unilateral claim to the northern limit of its maritime space with the United Nations on July 12, 2011. Furthermore, in August 2011, Lebanon’s Parliament enacted a maritime boundary law (Law number 163). The relevant coordinates were subsequently determined by governmental decree in September 2011 (Decree number 6433) and were made subject to possible amendments in the future based on negotiations with neighboring states.

Wherein the problem lies

The delimitation of maritime areas between two or more states is governed by international law as mainly reflected in UNCLOS, precedence of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and customary practice of coastal states. International law provides that coastal states are invited to seek the delimitation of their maritime boundaries by agreement and must show evidence of having exhausted all routes through negotiations (although not necessarily direct negotiations) before resorting to any other settlement procedures. The existence of overlapping claims over maritime zones is not an unusual occurrence, and has in fact become more frequent in recent decades, with a tremendous increase in maritime space coming under the jurisdiction of coastal states.

The maritime area of overlap between Israel and Lebanon covers an estimated 873,722 square kilometers, running from the coast to the median line between Cyprus and Israel and Cyprus and Lebanon. Both states claim that this area falls within their jurisdiction based on differing calculations of the outermost limits of their respective EEZs. Lebanon considers Point 23 on the list of geographical coordinates, which is claimed by Lebanon to be tri-equidistant between the three countries, as the endpoint of its southern maritime border with Israel, and the southwestern limit of its EEZ. On the other hand, Israel considers Point 1, which falls around 17 kilometers north of Point 23, as the endpoint of its northern maritime border with Lebanon.

Does Lebanon have a stronger case?

Lebanon claims its coordinates are based on the internationally recognized equidistance method, which remains the most frequently adopted method for delimiting maritime boundaries between states. This meets the criteria of geographical factors and customary international law that govern the delimitation of maritime areas between states. It is also consistent with Lebanon’s desire to uphold international law and its commitments as a signatory to UNCLOS, to which Israel is not a party.

Lebanon claims that Point 23 was determined using objective unambiguous mathematical principles and results in the equitable distribution of maritime space. Unless successfully contested, this should in principle correspond to the ‘equitable/relevant circumstances principle’ governing the delineation of EEZs.

It is not clear what reasonable factors, technical or otherwise, led Israel to determine Point 1 as the northwestern endpoint to its maritime border. Israel’s position reflects a lack of consideration for both equitability and relevant circumstances, relying solely on the coordinates of a provisional end point in the agreement between Cyprus and Lebanon.

Source: Ministry of Energy and Water

Moreover, the Cyprus-Lebanon agreement confirms the provisional nature of Point 1 in accordance with customary international maritime law. The agreement states that “the geographical coordinates of Points 1 and 6 could be reviewed and/or extended and duly revised as necessary in light of further delimitation of the EEZ with other concerned neighboring states and in accordance with an agreement to be reached in this matter by the neighboring states concerned”. Thus, it can be argued that such a provisional point cannot be taken as a basis for the final (let alone unilateral) delimitation of the maritime boundaries by Israel and would not meet the requirements of the ‘equitable solution’ principle set by Article 74 of UNCLOS.

Lebanon may argue that although Israel is not party to UNCLOS, previous practice confirms that Israel accepts the equidistance principle. In the delimitation of the maritime boundaries between Israel and Jordan in the Gulf of Aqaba, Israel drew its maritime boundary between the coastal point and a tri-equidistance point, that is to say of equal distance from the three coasts at the head of the Gulf.

Lebanon may also argue that Israel’s claim is undermined by its previous acceptance of the median line with Lebanon as a de facto boundary between the two countries, as demonstrated in its delineation of hydrocarbon licensing blocks along its northern maritime border — notably the Alon D and F Blocks. This analysis is supported by ICJ precedence in the case of Tunisia-Libya 1982 where a line drawn by the Italian colonial administration in 1919 was recognized by the ICJ as a de facto working boundary that had been observed over a considerable period of time and respected by both parties in issuing their oil exploration concessions.

Finally, it could be noted that there are strong indications that Israel’s claims over the overlapping area are of a political nature and are not based on any declared solid legal or technical foundations beyond the adoption of Point 1 in the agreement between Lebanon and Cyprus.

In summary, the Lebanese legal position is relatively strong as it is based on the principle of equidistance, which is a commonly applied method in such disputes. However, a lasting settlement may also have to take into consideration any other relevant circumstances “in order to achieve an equitable solution” as per Article 74 of UNCLOS.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 08:12 PM   #205
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Lebanon’s offshore gas likely exceeds Cyprus, Syria

September 07, 2012 01:36 AM By Osama Habib, The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Lebanon may have more offshore natural gas deposits than Cyprus and Syria, based on a recent 3-D seismic survey, the CEO of Norway-based Spectrum Company said Thursday.

“My humble opinion based on the data that I have is that there is greater potential [for natural gas] offshore Lebanon than offshore Cyprus and offshore Syria,” David Rowlands told The Daily Star over the telephone.

He added that the Levantine basin offshore Lebanon was more perceptive than offshore Cyprus and Syria.

These results, Rowlands stressed, were based on data gathered from Lebanon, Cyprus and Syria by Spectrum and its partner Dolphin Geophysical, which is surveying the Lebanese coast with its high-capacity seismic vessel, M/V Polar Duke.

“We compared the data of offshore Lebanon with the data of offshore Cyprus and Syria.”

But Rowlands declined to compare the potential size of Lebanon’s natural gas to Israel.

M/V Polar Duke has been surveying the Lebanese coast since last Sunday and the initial results, according to officials in the company, were more than encouraging.

“As of this morning, the Polar Duke has acquired 650 square kilometers off the Lebanese coast. The productivity of the vessel is excellent and much better than average,” Rowlands explained.

He added that normally a 3-D vessel acquired about 50 km each day but Polar Duke was averaging 85 km each day off the Lebanese coast.

“We have achieved this result because the sea is very calm so the productivity is excellent,” the CEO said.

Rowlands added that processing this data would not be completed until January 2013.

“The processing of the data will be then done onshore. The early results have shown us structure which has never been seen before. The geological structures are favorable for accumulation of gas and this has never been seen before at this early stage,” Rowlands said.

He added that the area which the vessel was surveying was 3,000 square km in the southwest offshore Lebanon.

Rowlands stressed that the prospects of finding oil off the Lebanese coast were good but noted that gas was still more favorable.

He added that many of the energy companies that were waiting for the bidding for gas to start were very frustrated by the government’s inability to name the six members for the Petroleum Committee which would oversee the issuance of the licenses.

“It is vitally important that the Lebanese government announce the petroleum administration so it can do its work and announce the opening of the first license. I talked to foreign oil companies and I can tell you that they are frustrated by the delay in appointing members of the administration.”

The Cabinet has failed to name the six members amid signs of deep differences between some ministers over who should be in the administration.

Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil said earlier that 26 foreign companies have expressed interest in exploring gas and oil off the Lebanese coast.

“Some of the companies interested in exploring gas in Lebanon are following the politics in the country. Frustration is an understatement because the oil companies are very disappointed,” Rowlands said.

He added that the companies would be invited to bid for what is termed as “acreage” offshore Lebanon.

“Offshore Lebanon is a 22,000-square-km zone and the bidding companies will bid for blocs in this zone. The foreign oil companies will make the investment and drill the well. The Lebanese government will not pay anything because the foreign firms will make this investment,” Rowlands said.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 08:39 PM   #206
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Just about to post that amazing!

"The early results have shown us structure which has never been seen before. The geological structures are favorable for accumulation of gas and this has never been seen before at this early stage,"
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Old September 9th, 2012, 10:29 AM   #207
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3a2bel 24/7 electricity...
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Old September 9th, 2012, 11:47 AM   #208
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Originally Posted by B-Patriot View Post
3a2bel 24/7 electricity...
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 02:05 AM   #209
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Experts estimate $40 bln gas reserves off Lebanese coast
September 22, 2012 01:49 AM
By Osama Habib
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: An international firm has estimated the volume of gas in Lebanon’s south-west corner to be close to 25 trillion cubic feet, valued by experts to be worth over $40 billion. “In the 3,000 square kilometers we are covering in the south-west corner of Lebanon, near the borders of Cyprus and Israel, an initial assessment [indicates] there may be 25 trillion cubic feet of gas,” David Rowlands, chief executive of Britain-based Geo Ltd. Spectrum Company CEO, told The Daily Star Friday.

The Lebanese government contracted Spectrum to conduct a 3-D seismic survey off the Lebanese coast.

The results so far have been more than encouraging as major U.S., European and Asian companies have expressed a keen interest in drilling gas off the Lebanese coast.

Many Lebanese, who have lost faith in their government’s ability to solve the economic crisis and cut the size of the huge public debt, believe the gas reserves may represent the last hope for rescuing the country’s economy.

The total maritime area that will be surveyed is 22,000 square kilometers, meaning that gas levels could be higher than initial estimates show, Rowlands added.

He declined to speculate the market value of the 25 trillion cubic feet of gas, but some experts have estimated it to be worth in excess of $40 billion at current market prices.

Experts interviewed by The Daily Star say that the value of the gas deposits could double or triple in the coming years as the world becomes more dependent on natural gas.

Rowlands said this single discovery is much bigger than the findings announced in Cyprus.

“In Cyprus’ offshore bloc 12, the estimated discovery was between 5 to 6 trillion cubic feet of gas. The 25 trillion in just one area of Lebanon suggests there could be much more gas off the Lebanese coast,” Rowlands said.

He added that Dolphin Geophysical, which is subcontracted by Spectrum, is currently surveying the 3,000 square kilometers in Lebanon’s south west corner with its high-capacity seismic vessel, M/V Polar Duke.

Rowlands said that Israel has so far announced the discovery of 30 to 32 trillion cubic feet of gas.

“We are saying in our estimates that there is 25 trillion cubic feet of gas in one area alone. There could be more gas offshore Lebanon than Israel’s offshore gas,” he explained.

The companies will provide all the data they have collected to the Lebanese government in January 2013.

Rowlands said that Spectrum has a contract with the Lebanese Energy and Water Ministry to acquire onshore oil data as well.

“Our people are going to be in Beirut next Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with the Energy Ministry officials and to do some scouting onshore Lebanon and to determine where we are going to position our onshore survey,” Rowlands revealed.

“It is our intention in the first quarter of next year to conduct a seismic survey ... We believe that Lebanon has oil reserves onshore just like Syria.”

Roudi Baroudi, secretary-general of World Energy Council, said that Lebanon’s oil and gas wealth is much larger than that unveiled by Spectrum.

“We estimate that Lebanon’s offshore can produce up to 90,000 barrels of oil per day over the next 20 years, with the market value of this output is around $100 billion,” Baroudi said.

But he stressed that tapping the massive oil and gas wealth in Lebanon requires a quick political decision.

“If March 8 and March 14 forces cannot reach an agreement on the Petroleum Administration or to benefit from this wealth then it is better to keep the gas reserves buried under the sea until the politicians return to their senses,” Baroudi said.

Echoing similar frustration by the government’s inability to form the Petroleum Administration, Rowlands said five members of the administration have been identified while the last member is expected to be elected soon.

“At a Deloitte and Touche conference in London ... the companies present said they were frustrated with the delays in forming the administration,” Rowlands said.
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 06:59 PM   #210
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Old September 22nd, 2012, 07:17 PM   #211
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which sucks is that now half of the money would be stolen instead of investing it in sth useful! thx dear ministers!!!! shame on this country!!
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Old October 17th, 2012, 06:50 AM   #212
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London meeting to discuss gas findings off coast
October 17, 2012 01:32 AM
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Leading international oil firms will get first-hand information about the initial findings of Lebanon’s massive gas wealth under the sea during a meeting in London Wednesday.

Multinational oil companies such as Exxon, Shell and Mobil will take part in the meeting. It will also be attended by Lebanese officials and senior executives from the British-based company Spectrum, which has been surveying 3,000 kilometers of Lebanon’s territorial waters.

David Rowlands, the CEO of Spectrum and one of the key speakers at the briefing, told The Daily Star over the telephone that 65 representatives of companies will attend the meeting.

Ali Hamdan and Cesar Bou Khalil, two advisers at the Energy and Water Ministry, will focus in their presentation about the political situation in Lebanon and the government’s efforts to speed up the creation of the long-awaited Petroleum Administration.

Rowlands and another speaker from Spectrum will give detailed information about the operation off the Lebanese coast and the preliminary results which were gathered by the seismic vessel, M/V Polar Duke.

“We hope that the representation will encourage other companies to buy the 3-D seismic data collected off the Lebanese coat. The companies will naturally ask the Lebanese officials about the fate of the Petroleum Administration because this body will issue the licenses to the companies drill for gas off the Lebanese coast,” Rowlands said.

The firm has estimated the gas off Lebanon’s coast to be close to 25 trillion cubic feet, valued by experts over $40 billion.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 07:02 AM   #213
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Companies show interest in gas reserves
October 19, 2012 01:24 AM
The Daily Star

A map shows the locations of possible gas reserves off the Lebanese coast

BEIRUT: Over 50 large European and U.S. companies showed keen interest in Lebanon’s oil and gas prospects during a marathon meeting with Lebanese officials in London.

Most, if not all, of these companies expressed eagerness to explore oil and gas off the Lebanese coast as soon as possible after listening to a thorough explanation about progress the Lebanese government has made in surveying part of the Lebanese coast.

Among the questions raised by the companies was the actual size of the gas blocks off the coast; they said the larger blocks would tempt the firms to take part in the bidding.

“The international oil companies want to know the size of the gas blocks off the Lebanese coast before they start bidding,” the CEO of British-based company Spectrum said Thursday.

“If the blocks are too small then the oil companies will not bid on them because they are interested in finding big gas reserves,” CEO David Rowlands told The Daily Star over the telephone following the meeting.

He added that Cesar Bou Khalil, an adviser to the Energy and Water Ministry, told the representatives of the companies that all the information concerning the size of the blocks will be revealed by the Petroleum Administration once it’s formed.

Spectrum, which has been conducting a 3-D seismic survey off the southern coast of Lebanon, assured the companies that the prospects of large amounts of gas in this country are quite substantial.

The company earlier revealed to The Daily Star that the preliminary results covering 3,000 square meters show close to 25 trillion cubic feet of reserves with a potential market value of more than $40 billion.

Rowlands said that 60 oil companies from the United States, France, United Kingdom, Austria and other countries attended the briefing which was dedicated to Lebanon’s oil and gas prospects.

The companies also asked the Lebanese officials about the situation in neighboring countries and particularly Syria.

Ali Hamdan, media adviser to Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, briefed the companies about the geo-political situation in Lebanon and efforts the government is making to speed up the oil and gas exploration.

Hamdan assured the companies that the government will make all the necessary arrangements to facilitate the work of the oil companies.

He added that the discovery of oil and gas will enable Lebanon to reduce of the massive public debt, cut the size of the budget deficit and generate more jobs for the future generations.

Hamdan also underlined the importance of demarcating the country’s maritime economic zone by the United Nations to determine accurately and without any doubt the actual size of the Lebanese maritime territorial waters.

Some of the companies urged the government to create the Petroleum Administration as soon as possible because this body will be in charge of issuing the tenders for the oil firms.

The government has yet to name the six members for the Petroleum Administration, though there are indications that the main political groups in the Cabinet have narrowed their differences on this issue.

Sources told The Daily Star the administration will be formed before the end of this year, adding that the ministers realize that any further delay would affect Lebanon’s credibility.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 09:29 PM   #214
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Lebanese cabinet approves oil committee
November 7, 2012

The Lebanese cabinet approved a committee to oversee oil exploration off the country’s Mediterranean shore.

The cabinet, which convened at the Baabda Presidential Palace on Wednesday, also discussed means to fund the salary raise approved in the salaries and ranks system, the National News Agency reported.

However, the discussions were postponed to the end of November.

The new ranks and salaries system was approved by the cabinet in early September. However, a debate is ongoing regarding the requisite funds to cover the salary raise for public employees.

In 2011, Israel's cabinet approved a map of the Jewish state's proposed maritime boundaries with Lebanon following an agreement the year before with the internationally recognized Cyprus Republic for the delimitation of their maritime economic zones in the Mediterranean.

In August 2010, the Lebanese Parliament passed an oil exploration bill, which calls for the establishment of a treasury and a committee to oversee exploration and drilling off the coast of Lebanon.

-NOW Lebanon
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Old November 27th, 2012, 01:58 AM   #215
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Lebanon’s gas wealth likely exceeds Israel’s
November 27, 2012 01:16 AM
By Mohamad El Amin
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Analysis of recently completed seismic data by top multinational companies showed that Lebanon’s gas wealth could exceed that of Israel, CEO of Lebanon’s upstream oil and gas company Petroleb told The Daily Star in an interview.

“Analysis of 3-D seismic data by our partners [top international oil firms] suggests that offshore gas reserves in Lebanon could be by far more significant than discoveries in occupied Palestine,” Salah Khayat said.

Despite suggesting that it was premature to give accurate estimates for the value of the potential reserves, Khayat said it is likely to exceed expectations.

“The 3-D data provided by Spectrum and Petroleum Geo-Services suggest that we have gas and oil resources valued in tens of billions of dollars when extracted over the next four decades,” he said.

Petroleb, which was established in mid-2011, has finalized agreements for a consortium with a major international oil and gas companies. However, Khayat refused to disclose the identity of the companies, which remains confidential under the terms and conditions of the consortium.

The agreements, he said, have paved the way for Petroleb to jointly bid for the first round of licenses for offshore hydrocarbons exploration expected to take place in early 2013, Khayat said.

The companies are expected to jointly invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the related exploration and development projects, Khayat said, highlighting that Petroleb will be recruiting the best Lebanese talents in the sector.

Khayat said the partners of Petroleb’s consortium include those with top know-how in offshore deep-sea drilling and exploration, key to tap into Lebanon’s natural gas wealth located in deep sea reservoirs.

“Potential gas reserves are located well below our sea bed, which starts from around 1,000 meters [below sea level] to reach 2,500 meters,” he said.

“You need very strong operators to tap into that wealth,” he said.

“Most probably the first round of licensing would not award all the sea blocks but will leave several blocks for a second or third round, when conditions of contracting would be more favorable to Lebanon,” he added.

Asked why the Lebanese natural gas and petroleum regulations requires a consortium of at least three companies to apply for a license based on the Norwegian model, Khayat said the measure is vital to shorten time needed to materialize revenues and increase transparency.

Following Norway’s example, channeling oil and gas revenues for a sovereign fund would also be highly beneficial to Lebanon’s economy, Khayat added.

Khayat said initial investments are in hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars by the consortium per year over the next years. “But once discoveries are found, investments would quickly multiply into billions of dollars,” he added.

Some international companies, he added, are considering moving their Middle East headquarters to Beirut, once awarded.

Khayat also said a conflict with Israel over the Exclusive Economic Zone could be nearing resolution at the United Nations.

“The government is working hard for a deal to be reached very soon to secure Lebanon’s rights completely,” he said, adding the contested 830-square-kilometer area has significant reserves.

Expected returns on investments, he added, are very encouraging and attractive for investors: “Lebanon is positioning itself as a much more competitive producer than Israel and Cyprus, where the government share of revenues is much higher.”

Significant investments in infrastructure projects, including pipelines and liquefied natural gas plants, are desperately needed for Lebanon to tap export markets, he said.

“Lebanon has been known as a touristic country. But in the future we will a unique country that is both a tourist destination and a major gas producer. This is really important for the coming generations,” he added.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 01:16 AM   #216
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Lebanon oil, gas prospects onshore high
December 04, 2012 12:49 AM
By Mohamad El Amin
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Prospects of substantial gas and oil reserves offshore, onshore and near the coast in Lebanon are quite high, said experts speaking at the Lebanon International Oil and Gas Summit 2012 as ongoing seismic surveys reveal even more promising geological structures.

Neil Hodgson, new ventures manager at Spectrum, a British company which in October completed a first phase survey of 2,320 square kilometers to the south of Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone, said analysis of seismic data is increasingly showing high prospects.

He said geological structures in Lebanon’s EEZ to the north of the gas field Tamar, discovered off the coast of Israel, are up to three times wider than reservoirs in Israel’s field, which is estimated at 274 billion cubic meters.

Last week, Spectrum announced the start of phase 2 of their “Multi-Client 3-D survey” in the Levantine Basin. The new survey will comprise 1,200 square kilometers of “long offset” seismic data offshore of Lebanon (see map).

“The results of initial processing confirm our expectations; this is truly a very exciting area for hydrocarbon exploration with a number of different prospects,” he told a panel at the conference, which concludes Tuesday.

Onshore prospects are also promising, Hodgson said, adding that seismic surveys by Spectrum would soon commence in the Bekaa Valley.

The second phase of Spectrum’s offshore survey is scheduled to be completed in December, and an initial product is planned to be available for hydrocarbon companies by the end January 2013. A final product will be available to international oil companies by mid April 2013.

Speaking to The Daily Star on the sidelines of the conference, Per Helge Semb, Middle East regional manager for Petroleum Ge-Services, another leading surveyor of Lebanon’s potential gas and oil wealth, echoed Hodgson’s highly optimistic view of prospects.

“It is an exciting time for Lebanon now and I can really see the change from no interest at all to today, when the entire major [international energy firms] are highly interested.

“What we are seeing from the data we acquired is a lot of interesting geological features, similar to what we see in Tamar and Aphrodite [natural gas fields in Israel and Cyprus],” he said. “The potential is great.”

Not only are natural gas prospects high for Lebanon, petroleum, Semb added, was likely to be found in reservoirs close to the coast.

PGS, he said, is launching late Monday or early Tuesday a new survey focusing on locating oil reservoirs near the coast of Lebanon to be completed between April and May 2013.

“We are now focusing close to the shore, where we believe potential to find oil is high,” he said. “But we cannot tell before the survey is concluded and drilling starts,” he added.

Semb said near-shore oil reserves could also be more important than those buried in the deeper seabed, which could be geologically unrecoverable.

“When you are dealing with oil, if reserves are buried too deep and temperatures are too high, then it is deemed ‘overcooked,’ and you have a destroyed potential,” he said.

“So it is important that oil systems should not be overcooked and that’s why we believe the [coastal] margin is very important [for oil prospectively],” Semb added

Rabih Ouajian, senior investment analyst at Consolidated Contractors International, a Lebanese-owned London-based firm, told The Daily Star that the company had already partnered with several international oil firms including India’s Carin Energy.

Ouajian shared other experts’ highly optimistic prospects for Lebanon’s oil sector, expecting revenues to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decades, following an exploration phase of five to seven years.

But contrary to extremely high interest by international firms outlined by many experts, Ouajian said only the strongest companies would actually be able to bid for a license, given the deep location of most natural gas reserves.

Waleed Khaddury, adviser at Middle East Economic Survey, outlined geopolitical challenges to the development of the sector.

He said a persistent conflict between Turkey and Cyprus, on one side, and Israel and Lebanon, on the other, could threaten prospects, particularly given that final demarcation of maritime borders would now have to follow hydrocarbon discoveries in the Levantine basin.

Bashir Bassatne, who represented Hypco and B.B. Management, told The Daily Star local downstream firms were partnering with international upstream companies to apply for the first exploration licensing bid early 2013.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 12:59 AM   #217
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Gas pipeline construction set to start in 2013
19 companies were prequalified for project

A project to build a coastal gas pipeline interconnecting major power plants across the country will be launched in 2013. Zaher Sleiman, consultant at the Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW), said the 173-kilometer-long pipeline will connect the Beddawi power plant in the north to the Zahrani plant in the south, reaching Tyr.

The MoEW will select the company to undertake the pipeline construction in a few months. “19 companies have already been shortlisted for the project,” said Sleiman. The pipeline network is expected to take around two years for completion. The estimated cost of the plan is around $455 million. It will be funded by a three-year financing law that has yet to be ratified.

The pipeline network will later be annexed to a Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU) for treating imported liquefied gas. Sleiman said that having an offshore re-gasification unit is the fastest and most convenient solution for supplying the country with natural gas as it requires a low upfront capital expenditure. He said the government could hire an FSRU for a period of 12 years.

The MoEW released an expression of interest for the FSRU project in April. It aims to select a developer by the first quarter of 2013. The FSRU is expected to be commissioned by mid-2015, right after the completion of the pipeline network.

Sleiman said Lebanon will be a good consumer of natural gas for energy production by 2015. “Major consumption of fuel and oil derivatives will eventually be replaced by natural gas by 2015,” he said. According to the MoEW, expected savings starting in 2016 will exceed $1 billion per year in the electricity sector and $2 billion per year in all other sectors.

Lebanon can import liquid gas by sea from Qatar, Yemen, Algeria, and Egypt. In a 2010 study commissioned by the World Bank, US-based firm ‘Poten & Partners’ had recommended that Lebanon import liquid gas from these countries and construct a floating storage re-gasification unit. The cost of constructing the unit was estimated at around $200 million at the time.

Reported by Yassmine Alieh
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Old December 27th, 2012, 07:12 PM   #218
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Oil drilling bid in May
Cabinet approves book of conditions

The Cabinet approved today (December 27) the executive decrees for launching the first round to award offshore oil and gas drilling rights. The decrees include the book of conditions 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
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Old January 17th, 2013, 07:12 AM   #219
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Bassil: Oil prospects off Lebanese coast can reduce energy imports
January 17, 2013 01:23 AM
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Ongoing seismic surveys are signaling that Lebanon could have petroleum reservoirs in addition to highly anticipated natural gas wealth, the energy minister said at an international energy conference.

“The 3-D seismic surveys assured the existence of natural gas in large quantities, and new surveys are now showing oil liquids,” Gebran Bassil told pan-Arab television station Al-Arabiya on the sidelines of World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi.

“This led us to decide to commission onshore surveys, and we have been in talks with several companies for that purpose,” he said, adding that tapping offshore natural gas resources remains a priority.

Last month, Petroleum Geo-Services, one of two geological surveyors operating in Lebanon, said oil could be found in reservoirs close to the coast.

PGS launched a seismic survey in December focused on locating petroleum reservoirs in the area, with completion dates set between April and May 2013.

Bassil told the conference Lebanon could not continue to spend up to 15 percent of its GDP on fuel imports.

“We should take our natural position as an Arab energy producing state,” he said.

Expressing his confidence that Lebanon could start drilling for natural gas in its offshore Exclusive Economic Zone in five years, Bassil reiterated that the first round of licensing would be launched on May 2 this year.

“A French [oil and gas] company gave positive feedback about the five years figure. Lebanon can sign the first drilling contract by 2014,” he said.

Bassil added that over 30 international companies were highly interested in applying to the exploration bid, with many already forming consortiums.

Lebanese oil and gas laws require bidders to form alliances of at least three companies to apply for an exploration license.

In its last session before the end of 2012, the Lebanese Cabinet set the date for the first tender for oil and gas exploration as Feb. 1. The Cabinet also decided to publish the list of prequalified firms on March 21 and to receive formal applications on May 2.

The value of natural gas reserves has been estimated as between $300 billion and $600 billion, depending on market prices and supply and demand.

Ending his speech at the conference, Bassil said the natural gas wealth should not fuel more conflicts.

“Most importantly, we need to preserve stability in Lebanon and the region. We want to benefit from our wealth, with no one violating our rights and without violating anyone’s rights,” he said.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 07:18 PM   #220
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Davos January 23, 2013, 6:27 AM

Lukoil CEO in Talks Over Lebanese Shelf Project

By Eyk Henning and James Marson

OAO Lukoil Holdings, Russia’s No. 2 crude oil producer, is interested in developing oil on the continental shelf in the Middle East and is considering a project in Lebanon, Chief Executive Vagit Alekperov said.

“We are interested in the Lebanese shelf and are in talks,” Mr. Alekperov said at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
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