Lebanon passes new energy law

Green light for offshore gas exploration amid fears Israel could infringe on reserves.

    Israeli plans to drill for offshore oil have fed into the deep mistrust between the two neighbours [Reuters]

    "Passing the law is a message that shows Lebanon is serious and persistent."

    Israeli drilling

    Lebanon has said it would "use all means" to defend its rights if Israel was found to be drilling in Lebanese waters.

    Hamdan said he expected exploration rights to be up for auction by the end of 2011. 

    US-based Noble Energy has announced plans to begin drilling in the massive Leviathan field offshore Israel in the fourth quarter of 2010.

    Noble has also said it had discovered enough natural gas at the Israeli Tamar and Dalit offshore fields to meet Israel's needs for years.

    The announcements have increased tensions between Israel and Lebanon which do not have formal maritime borders and remain technically in a state of war.

    The mistrust between the two neighbours is high and was embroiled in a deadly border clash earlier this month.

    Hamdan said Lebanon planned to outline its own maritime borders and submit them to the UN Security Council.

    Even though Lebanon has passed the energy law, it still has a long way to catch up with the Israelis in any offshore drilling.

    It has to identify blocs, supply data to interested investors, select bidders and have
    companies start exploration work, while the Israelis already have firms ready to drill for gas.

    Lebanon's national debt currently stands at more than $50 billion, equivalent to about 148 per cent of gross domestic product.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.