BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said an auction for oil and gas licenses offshore was delayed but the new April deadline was firm.
Bassil said the auction was rescheduled for a third time because some members of the caretaker administration weren't meeting their obligations.
"The auction for the licensing of offshore gas exploration is postponed for the third time to April 10," he was quoted by The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon as saying Wednesday. "The April 10 deadline is a final one and gives companies who want to participate in the auction enough time to come forward."
Bassil said members Prime Minister Najib Mikati's political slate refused to hold the special sessions needed to allocate the number of blocks and the revenue sharing scheme necessary to schedule the auction.
A deadline was set originally for Friday.
The Lebanese government estimates there are 95 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 750 million barrels of oil in its territorial waters. Lebanon and Israel make rival claims to an estimated 350 square miles off the coast.