January 31, 2017 / 5:11 PM / 6 months ago

Lebanese president says oil production to start in 2018

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BEIRUT, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Lebanon expects to start oil production in 2018 and will deposit the resulting revenues into a sovereign wealth fund, President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday.

"Everything that is extracted will be for the Lebanese people," he said during a meeting with a press syndicate delegation.

Aoun said the revenues would be invested in development projects, and vowed to increase efforts to upgrade Lebanon's crumbling infrastructure.

Lebanon has relaunched its first oil and gas exploration and production licensing round after a three-year delay, kick-starting the development of a hydrocarbon industry stalled by national political paralysis.

Minister of Energy and Water Cesar Abou Khalil said last week that Lebanon had opened five offshore blocks for bidding in a first licensing round. (Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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