The Lebanese government estimates there are 95 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 750 million barrels of oil in its territorial waters. A committee led by Prime Minister Tammam Salam has only met a few times to discuss offshore prospects since it was formed early this year.
A source close to ministerial negotiations for the auction told The Daily Star newspaper in Beirut policymakers "believe that the state should have a bigger royalty and higher taxes from the profits generated by the oil companies once the actual drilling starts."
Royalties of between 5 and 12 percent were seen as too low when compared with other countries. Lebanese Energy and Water Minister Arthur Nazarian is set in August to outline a new date for the auction.
Lebanon's first-ever offshore auction was rescheduled Aug. 10, the fourth time the auction was postponed. A caretaker government in January was blamed for the one of the more recent delays because of differences over the number of reserve areas up for auction.
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