Lebanon's Council of Ministers has approved the awards of two exclusive petroleum licenses for exploration and production in Lebanese Blocks 4 and 9 for the consortium composed of Total, Eni and Novatek.
The three companies, acting as a consortium, made the only bids in Lebanon's first offshore licensing round, bidding on Blocks 4 and 9.
Block 4 lies on the shallower side of Lebanon’s offshore waters, and is thought to be highly prone to gas. Block 9 is a southern block, thought to be prone to oil.
Five offshore blocks were offered in the bidding round. Fifty-one companies were pre-qualified for the round.
The exploration phase will start upon the signature of an exploration and production agreement and will last up to five years with the possibility of having a one-year extension.
The first round was finally launched after repeated delays (OE: November 2015), caused by political instability.
Lebanon hopes the EPA will lead to the nation’s first offshore commercial discovery by 2019, Lebanon’s Minister of Energy and Water Cesar Abi Khalil told a July roadshow presentation in Houston.
The 51 companies include those pre-qualified for the planned, but delayed, 2013 bidding round, provided they still meet eligibility standards.
A further 10 submissions were made this year, including two as operators and eight as non-operating companies. These companies include ONGC Videsh as an operator, and Lukoil, Sapurakencana Energy, Sonatrach International Petroleum, Qatar Petroleum International, Petropars, Novatek, and New Age (African Global Energy), as non-operators.
To date, only a handful of wells have been drilled onshore Lebanon (the last was in 1966), with little success, and no wells have been drilled offshore, says Sarah Haggas, director – Middle East, Energy with IHSMarkit.