Lebanese offshore oil and gas licensing round continues despite political crisis

In this Nov. 6, 2017 photo, vehicles moves on a street in Beirut, Lebanon. (AP)
Updated 11 November 2017
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Lebanese offshore oil and gas licensing round continues despite political crisis

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Energy Minister on Friday called on companies bidding in its first round of licensing to explore for oil and gas in its Mediterranean waters to begin technical discussions, suggesting the process would continue despite the political crisis.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in a speech from Saudi Arabia last Saturday and has yet to return to the country, sparking a political crisis.
President Aoun has said he will not accept Hariri’s resignation until he returns to the country, while the Lebanese authorities have said they consider the government to still be legitimate.
Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said on Twitter that he signed a document on Friday calling on companies who sub-mitted bids for the offshore license blocks “to negotiate the technical proposals.”
Lebanon sits on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean where a number of big subsea gas fields have been discovered since 2009, including the Leviathan and Tamar fields situated in Israeli waters near to the disputed marine border with Lebanon.
Lebanon re-launched the tendering competition for the exploration and production rights in January after a three-year delay due to political paralysis.
However, a consortium made up of France’s Total, Italy’s ENI and Russia’s Novatek, made the only offer in the tendering process which closed on Oct. 12, with bids for two of the blocks.
The Lebanese Petroleum Administration has said it will evaluate bids for the offshore blocks and present them to the energy minister by Nov. 13. Final approval will then be sought from Lebanon’s council of ministers.
— REUTERS


Iraq restarts small Kirkuk oil exports after a year of suspension

Updated 16 November 2018
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Iraq restarts small Kirkuk oil exports after a year of suspension

  • The flows resumed on Friday at a modest level of around 50,000-60,000 barrels per day

LONDON: Iraq has restarted exports of Kirkuk oil, interrupted more than a year ago amid a standoff between the central government in Baghdad and Kurdistan’s semi-autonomous region, industry sources said on Friday.
The development is a win for the US government which has been putting pressure on both sides to settle the dispute and resume flows to help address a shortage of Iranian crude in the region after Washington imposed new sanctions on Tehran.
The flows resumed on Friday at a modest level of around 50,000-60,000 barrels per day versus peak levels of 300,000 observed during some months of 2017 and it was not clear when and by how much they will rise, sources said.