Beirut expects big turnout for gas auction

Jan. 2, 2013 at 9:29 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Companies examining the energy potential in Lebanon are eager for the robust showing at a February natural gas auction, an executive said.

Lebanon is to have its first natural gas tenders next month. The Daily Star newspaper reports at least 40 international oil and natural gas companies are expected to take part in the auction.

"I think February is a very reasonable timing and oil companies are quite happy that Lebanon has finally decided to proceed with gas extraction projects," David Rowlands, chief executive officer at energy company Spectrum, told the newspaper.

Spectrum said it has already carried out seismic surveys off the southern Lebanese coast to come up with a reserve estimate of 25 trillion cubic feet in an area encompassing 1,100 square miles.

Rowlands said Spectrum aims to conduct more surveys onshore within the next year. First gas from Lebanon is expected by 2017.

Roudi Baroudi, the top executive for the Lebanese Energy Council, told the newspaper that any company seeking to lay foundations in the country would need to invest at least $300 million for offshore development.

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