Lebanon gearing up for natural gas work

Aug. 23, 2012 at 7:21 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- There may be significant volumes of natural gas available in the Mediterranean waters off the coast of Lebanon, an executive said.

The Lebanese government said it expects to have its first licensing round for offshore development next year.

The Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water this week announced Spectrum ASA would conduct a 3-D seismic survey of the waters off the coast of Lebanon. The company said the area was ranked as "high prospectivity."

Spectrum Chief Executive Officer David Rowlands told Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star that initial assessments were promising.

"Our assessment indicates so far there is a significant volume of gas to be discovered, and maybe even oil," he said.

Results from the survey are expected early next year. Royal Dutch Shell and BP, he added, have expressed interest in conducting drilling campaigns in the Levantine Basin, where extraction is expected to be at least five years out.

Neighboring Israel is eyeing the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields in its territorial waters.

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