Lebanon extends offshore bid round deadline

At the request of the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA), Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abi Khalil has extended to Oct. 12 the deadline for the country’s first oil and gas bidding round from the original Sept. 15 deadline.

At the request of the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA), Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abi Khalil has extended to Oct. 12 the deadline for the country’s first oil and gas bidding round from the original Sept. 15 deadline.

According to an LPA memo, the extension is warranted as prequalified companies seek to finalize legal paperwork and negotiate consortia with other firms. Of the 53 prequalified companies approved for bidding, only 13 were granted operator approval as of April.

LPA cited the 4-year delay, when Lebanon’s first round was scheduled for 2013, as a source of the lack of response. There is speculation as to whether US firms ExxonMobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. would make offers by Oct. 12.

During the same 4-year period, Cyprus and Israel have advanced offshore exploration and have signed supply contracts with Egypt and other eastern Mediterranean countries. In July, the ministry said it expected an offshore discovery by 2019 if the bid round proved successful, however, the most recent statement from LPA cited a 6-7 year exploration period (OGJ Online, July 7, 2017).

Contact Tayvis Dunnahoe at tayvisd@ogjonline.com.

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