Lebanon signs deal with 3 international oil companies

Lebanese President Michel Aoun, center, stands for the national anthem of Lebanon during the signing ceremony with an international consortium to start exploratory offshore drilling for oil and gas in Beirut. The ceremony was attended by officials from the consortium’s three oil companies, Italy’s Eni, France’s Total and Russia’s Novatek. (AP Photo)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Lebanon signs deal with 3 international oil companies

BEIRUT: Lebanon has signed a deal with an international consortium to start exploratory offshore drilling for oil and gas in what the country hopes will help boost its struggling economy.
The signing ceremony was held Friday in Beirut and was attended by President Michel Aoun and officials from the three oil companies, Italy’s Eni, France’s Total and Russia’s Novatek.
The agreement came two months after Lebanon’s government approved the licenses for the international consortium to move forward with offshore oil and gas development.
The three companies have bid for two of Lebanon’s 10 offshore blocks, to determine whether oil and gas exist.
Lebanon’s energy and water minister said the country will start exploratory offshore drilling for oil and gas next year. One of the blocks is disputed in part with Israel.


Group: Egyptian army intensifies home demolitions in Sinai

Updated 24 min 37 sec ago
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Group: Egyptian army intensifies home demolitions in Sinai

CAIRO: An international rights group says the Egyptian military has intensified home demolitions in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula as part of its campaign against a local affiliate of the Daesh group.
Tuesday’s report by Human Rights Watch says the military has vastly expanded widespread destruction of homes, commercial buildings and farms in Northern Sinai province since February 9.
It says “the new destruction, including hundreds of hectares of farmland and at least 3,000 homes and commercial buildings, together with 600 buildings destroyed in January, is the largest since the army officially began evictions in 2014.”
HRW says the destruction has extended well beyond two government-designated security buffer zones in the cities of Al-Arish and Rafah.
Egypt has struggled for years to contain a long-running insurgency in Sinai.