Lebanon set a Thursday deadline for pre-qualification for a licensing round set to kick off May 2. The country's deep-water acreage in the Mediterranean Sea is considered frontier territory. The government claims that parts of the giant Leviathan natural gas field offshore Israeli is in its territorial waters.
Neil Hodgson, exploration geologist at seismic survey company Spectrum, said the territory may have significant reserves for early developers.
"It's not many times in your career that you come across a basin that is completely untouched and yet is incredibly prospective," he was quoted by energy reporting website Rigzone as saying from London.
French consultant Beicip Franlab estimates the reserve potential offshore Lebanon at 440 million-675 million barrels of oil. Spectrum's data from a 769-square-mile area offshore indicate there may be 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in place.
"This is the first chance that the industry has got to discover the wealth and the hydrocarbon promises that lie offshore (Lebanon)," Hodgson said.