Lebanon nears natural gas auction

Feb. 8, 2013 at 8:40 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Lebanon expects by the end of March to unveil a list of energy companies that qualify for a May offshore gas exploration auction, the government said.

The Lebanese government announced it finalized bidding terms for international energy companies examining its offshore reserves. The Daily Star newspaper reports dozens of companies may be included in the list of qualifiers for bidding set to begin May 2.

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

Lebanon is considered frontier territory as neither the CIA World Factbook nor the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration lists a considerable reserve potential there.

Lebanon contends that a portion of the giant Leviathan natural gas field, off Israel's coast, lies within its maritime borders.

The Daily Star reports that it may be 2020 before the country reaps any natural gas rewards because of a lack of infrastructure and potential contractual negotiations.

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