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Lebanon eases policies for energy bidders

Feb. 11, 2013 at 9:13 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Companies exploring potential work in the Lebanese energy sector won't need a national partner provided they have a viable strategy, a government source said.

A licensing round for oil and natural gas work in Lebanon is planned for May. A source in the Lebanese government was quoted by the Platts news service as saying that interested parties no longer had to from joint ventures to work in Lebanon.

"At this stage, all the companies are applying as individual entities," the source said. "There is no requirement that these companies have a Lebanese partner."

The official said that companies looking to take part in the auction must have at least $500 million in assets if they want a role as non-operators, however.

"Pre-qualified companies can make joint ventures among themselves depending on their strategy," the source said. "The regulations do not force any company to partner with any other."

Lebanon's government last week approved of the conditions for international energy companies waiting to take part in the May auction.

Lebanon is considered frontier territory. The government claims that parts of the giant Leviathan natural gas field offshore Israeli is in its territorial waters.

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