Nov 2021: The Council of Ministers approved the launch of the 2nd Offshore Licensing Round in April 2019 but it was later postponed several times. The Minister of Energy and Water has now defined June 2022 as the Closing Date for submission of applications for 8 open blocks noting that Blocks 4 & 9 were awarded in the 1st licensing round.
Apr 2020: State agency, NNA, announced that Total (operator, 40%), ENI (40%) and Novatek (20%) have completed the drilling of the Byblos well 16/1 in Block 4, 30 kms offshore of Beirut in a water depth of 1,500m. The well encountered traces of gas but did not encounter any Tamar Formation reservoirs.
Apr 2020: The Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) announced a further postponement of the closing date for its 2nd offshore exploration licensing round due to COVID-19. The new deadline is 1 June 2020.
Feb 2020: Drilling of the country’s first well by Total (operator, 40%), Eni (40%) and Novatek (20%) is beginning in the Levant Basin where gas fields have been discovered since 2009 in Israeli waters. The first well is in Block 4 with wells in Block 9 later in 2020. The blocks were awarded as part of the 1st licensing round in 2017.
Jan 2020: The Ministry of Energy and Water and the Lebanese Petroleum Administration have announced an extension of its licensing round. Companies are now invited to apply for Blocks 1, 2, 5, 8 and 10 before the end of April 2020.
Apr 2019: The Government has approved the opening of the 2nd offshore licensing round with bids by 31 January 2020.Five offshore blocks are to be offered (1, 2, 5, 8 and 10). Provisional block winners are expected to be announced during April 2020. Spectrum has acquired and interpreted over 5,000 sq kms of 3D data covering 3 blocks.
Apr 2017: The energy minister has asked the petroleum authority to start preparing for a 2nd oil and gas offshore licensing round. In February 2018 the country signed its first offshore agreements for 2 of 10 offshore blocks with a consortium of Total, Eni and Novatek.
Dec 2017: Offshore energy rights have been granted to a group comprising Total, Eni and Novatek. Two licenses in the first offshore bidding round were awarded, covering Blocks 4 and 9. Drilling is expected to begin in 2019.
Oct 2017: The deadline set for pre-qualified companies to submit bids on open blocks within the first offshore licensing round has passed and 3 companies (Total, Eni and JSC Novatek) in one consortium have participated, submitting a bid on Blocks 4 and 9.
Sep 2017: The deadline for bids on the first licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration in the Levant Basin has been extended to October.
Jan 2017: The Minister of Energy and Water will restart its first licensing round after a 3-year delay, offering 5 offshore blocks (1, 4, 8, 9, 10) and it will hold a pre-qualification round for companies interested. In 2013 46 companies qualified including Chevron, Total and Exxon Mobil. The next stage is for the government to agree a tax regime (Globalshift notes: many hurdles remain).
Jul 2016: Lebanon may soon begin an auction of 10 offshore oil and gas blocks. First scheduled for 2013, it was frozen by the government’s failure to pass decrees due to political divisions and violence since the war in Syria started in 2011. Companies that are prequalified to bid as operators include Chevron, Shell, Eni, Anadarko, Petroleobras, Statoil, Maersk, Repsol, Inpex, Exxon and Total.
No significant news in 2015.
Mar 2014: The new government plans to accelerate offshore oil and gas licensing. In early 2013 Lebanon’s Petroleum Administration was working on the first offshore auction in the Levant Basin but the government collapsed. A total of 46 bidders had been approved but the auction could not proceed without new legislation (GS notes: continued delays are likely).
Apr 2013: Lebanon has selected 46 companies to bid to explore for gas in the Mediterranean of which 12 could bid as operators in the licensing round which opens in May. These are Anadarko, Chevron, ENI, ExxonMobil, INPEX, Maersk, Petrobras, Petronas, Repsol, Shell, Statoil and Total. A total of 10 exploration blocks ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 sq kms are expected to be released.
Jan 2013: The Ministry of Energy and Water has authorized its first offshore licensing round. The qualifying round for companies will start in February and a list of explorers will be issued by March after which they can place bids. Award of licenses is planned in February 2014. Exploration will be in the Levantine basin close to Israel and Cyprus, where Noble Energy has found large volumes of gas.