Lebanon begins offshore oil exploration

Lebanon’s Caretaker Minister of Energy and Water Resources on Tuesday (May 29th) announced the beginning of the first stage of offshore oil exploration works in two of the 10 offshore blocks, the National News Agency reported.

"The exploration's first stage, which will last for three years, starts today," Cesar Abi Khalil said at a news conference, following his approval of the exploration plans in blocks four and nine.

"We want to produce oil and gas and not to cause any damage to the environment," he said. "We are preparing for setting a logistic base in the oil fields.”

The petroleum authority has started preparing for the second oil and gas offshore licensing round, expected to be launched between the end of 2018 and the beginning of next year, Abi Khalil said.

Lebanon last year approved the licenses for an international consortium led by France's Total, Italy's ENI and Russia's Novatek to move forward with offshore oil and gas development in two of 10 blocks in the Mediterranean Sea.

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