BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s energy minister Cesar Abi Khalil on Thursday said a tender had closed on a first round of offshore energy blocks, without saying how many companies had bid.
It will take years for revenue from any of the blocks to start flowing to the country, he said in a televised news conference.
“The first licensing round for oil exploration closed,” he said. The country’s petroleum authority and the cabinet will evaluate the bids, he added.
Lebanon relaunched the licensing round for five offshore blocks (1,4,8,9 and 10) in January after a three-year delay due to political paralysis. It extended the bid deadline in September.
Lebanon sits on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean along with Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Syria. A number of gas fields have been discovered there since 2009, such as the Leviathan and Tamar fields.
A total of 52 companies qualified earlier in the year to bid in this round.
When the process was first launched in 2013, 46 companies qualified to take part in bidding, 12 of them as operators, including Chevron Corp, Total and Exxon Mobil Corp.
Reporting by Angus McDowall and Lisa Barrington, editing by David Evans