April 24, 2018 / 2:54 PM / 4 months ago

Lebanon to prepare for second offshore oil and gas licensing round: minister

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon’s energy minister said on Tuesday he had asked the country’s petroleum authority to start preparing for a second oil and gas offshore licensing round, but did not give a timeline for when it might happen.

Lebanon in February signed its first offshore energy exploration and production agreements for two of Lebanon’s 10 offshore blocks with a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek.

Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abi Khalil told an oil and gas conference in Beirut on Tuesday that he had asked the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) last week to begin preparations for a second round.

“This is not the launch of the licensing round but the beginning of the preparations,” a statement released by the conference quoted Khalil as saying.

“The LPA will start by organising a workshop to create a plan for the second licensing round, its launch date and how it can benefit from the results of the first well drill.”

The consortium has previously said it plans to drill its first well in 2019.

The LPA, the state body that manages the offshore sector, was did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Lisa Barrington; editing by David Evans

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