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Lebanon, Cyprus to review offshore energy

Jan. 9, 2013 at 9:49 AM

NICOSIA, Cyprus, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Cyprus President Demetris Christofias announced plans to examine offshore Lebanon oil and natural gas potential during a trip to Beirut this week.

Christofias was quoted by The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon as saying he'd meet Thursday with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.

The purpose of the visit is "to review economic issues and growth prospects that are opening up in the region in relation to the discovery of large reserves of hydrocarbons," the newspaper quoted Christofias as saying.

Cyprus has agreements with Egypt and Israel to examine transboundary hydrocarbon deposits. The Lebanese newspaper said similar agreements with Lebanon are complicated by maritime border disputes with Israel.

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

Lebanon is to have its first natural gas tenders next month. David Rowlands, chief executive officer at energy company Spectrum, told the newspaper that seismic surveys off the southern Lebanese coast revealed a natural gas reserve estimate of 25 trillion cubic feet in an area encompassing 1,100 square miles.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Lebanon would rely on support from the military and his Shiite resistance movement to defend the country's natural resources.

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