More than 30 major international companies have expressed interest in bidding for oil and gas exploration and drilling in Lebanon’s territorial waters, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil told Al Arabiya on Wednesday.
“We discovered significant oil wealth and resources in our waters, and especially natural gas; its existence became diverse and in multiple places, and we have prepared necessary legislations to create a good investment climate for companies,” Bassil told Al Arabiya correspondent Naser ElTibi on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) held in Abu Dhabi.
More than 30,000 people from 150 countries, including world leaders and government ministers gathered in the UAE capital for the summit, part of Abu Dhabi’s “Sustainability Week.”
The summit debates and displays the latest ideas in renewable and clean energy by business executives, academics, scientists, engineers, developers, global companies and entrepreneurs.
“We have also completed maritime surveys; 3-D seismic surveys off our waters have surpassed more than 60 percent, in addition to completed 2-D surveys,” the energy minister added.
Lebanon has been recently moving forward toward oil exploration. In 2010, its parliament passed a law allowing oil and gas exploration off its coast after years of delays. Last month Lebanon appointed a six-member Petroleum Administration board to organize bids for the country’s first offshore oil and natural-gas exploration licenses.
Lebanon faced maritime border dispute with Israel especially after the Israel began oil exploration near the Lebanese waters.
Both Lebanon and Israel claim a small maritime area of 850 square kilometers. The dispute has held up ratification of the 2007 Lebanese-Cypriot agreement, defining Exclusive Economic Zones among the three countries. It has also led to bitter exchanges and threats between Israel and Lebanon.