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Lebanon to Complete Laws for Oil Exploration on Land after Sea

Lebanon to Complete Laws for Oil Exploration on Land after Sea

Wednesday, 10 October, 2018 - 07:00
Minister of Energy and Water Cesar Abou Khalil shows a map of Lebanon with sea blocks for oil and gas licensing, during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Beirut - Nazeer Rida
Lebanon is moving rapidly to complete the legal mechanisms that allow oil exploration and extraction on land, after the completion last year of the file related to oil and gas exploration in the sea, with a basic legal difference represented in putting the agreements related to land exploration under Parliament’s authority, contrary to the agreements pertaining to the maritime exploration, which was placed under the custody of the council of ministers.

On Thursday, parliamentary committees will hold a joint session called by Speaker Nabih Berri to follow up the study of drafts and law proposals, including a proposed law on petroleum resources in Lebanese territory.

Member of the Committee on Public Works, Transport and Energy MP Mohammed Al-Hajjar said that the file of oil exploration on land would be discussed by the joint committees after the completion of the subcommittees’ studies. He added that the file would include exploration and exploitation agreements, the division of blocks, the general terms and conditions, and all other matters related to the sector.

The joint parliamentary committees launched the discussions over the draft-law of petroleum resources on land last week, and the first article was approved with some amendments.

The session resulted in a fundamental amendment to the draft-law, which gave Parliament the power to decide on the agreements, contrary to the law of exploration at sea, which granted this competence to the Cabinet.

The issue of extracting petrochemical resources from Lebanese territory is viewed with great hopes. Experts site earlier geological surveys that indicate promising oil reserves in Lebanon, possibly 600 meters deep in some coastal areas, which would reduce the cost of extraction and benefit the Lebanese state.

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