Lebanon opens oil, gas licensing round
After a three-year delay, Lebanon finally announced plans to reopen its first oil and gas production licensing round. Five offshore blocks in the eastern Mediterranean will be open for bidding, Lebanon’s energy minister Cesar Abou Khalil told reporters on Jan. 26. Bidding was originally scheduled to take place in 2013 but was delayed due to Lebanon's political crisis. Initial regulations were not signed, and then, with no president for more than two years, the entire process was put on hold until early last month. The 46 companies that were qualified to bid four years ago will remain eligible for the auction, Khalil said, and additional companies will have until the end of March to apply. Bidding will take place in mid-September. According to Reuters, three of the five blocks opened for bidding abut a disputed maritime border with Israel.