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


Greenland plans office in Beijing to boost trade ties with China

Updated 18 July 2018
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Greenland plans office in Beijing to boost trade ties with China

  • China could be potentially involved in the financing and construction of three airport expansions on the huge island
  • Greenland with a population of only 56,000 is rich in mineral resources but the development of its industry has been slow

COPENHAGEN: Greenland plans to open a representative office in Beijing to boost trade ties with China, the Arctic island’s new minister for foreign affairs was quoted as saying by state broadcaster KNR on Wednesday.
Denmark and the United States have been concerned about China’s interest in Greenland, a self-ruling part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Their most notable area of concern is China’s potential involvement in the financing and construction of three airport expansions on the huge island.
“We are planning to have a representative in China in order to continue strengthening trade with the country,” said minister for foreign affairs Vivian Motzfeldt, according to KNR.
The idea is not new, but it has not been discussed publicly at government level since 2014.
She did not set a timeline for when the office may be set up. Greenland already has foreign representations in Copenhagen, Brussels and Washington, and will open a fourth in Reykjavik later this year.
Beijing laid out ambitions in January to form a “Polar Silk Road” by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming and encouraging enterprises to build infrastructure in the Arctic.
Greenland, with a population of only 56,000, is rich in mineral resources but the development of its industry has been slow, leaving its economy reliant on fishing.
A defense treaty between Denmark and the United States dating back to 1951 gives the US military almost unlimited rights in Greenland, where it has an air base at Thule.