Even if disputes and wars overshadow offshore gas developments in the Eastern Mediterranean , Lebanon’s gas potential off the coast is on par with the discovery of the commodity in Cyprus, Egypt and Israel, a source close to the Petroleum Administration revealed over the weekend told Daily Star Lebanon.
Companies in the oil and gas business in Lebanon have generally been at a standstill following the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati‘s government on March 22, 2013. The oil and gas sector returned to the spotlight in recent months only to have the curtain soon close again.
According to the Al-Monitor, recent developments in oil and gas fields in Egypt and Cyprus close to the Lebanese maritime border pushed some of the international companies involved in those discoveries sent representatives to Beirut to persuade officials there to launch gas projects.
— Nayla Razzouk (@nayrazz) 4 juillet 2016
A government official who spoke to Al-Monitor said that the United States had relayed a new message to Lebanese officials requesting that they agree to negotiations with Israel, under American auspices, to solve the maritime border dispute. This raised the ire of Lebanese authorities who refuse to negotiate with Israel as they consider it Lebanon’s archenemy.
This is apparently what prompted Lebanese authorities to cease moving forward and wait, which also appears to serve the interests of several parties abroad such as Gulf states that do not want Lebanon to become an oil-producing country .
Major disputes over natural gas developments in the Eastern mediterranean start with Israel which has blocked the development of the East Gaza marine field that was discovered in Palestinian Authority waters in 2000.
- A demarcation treaty was drafted by Cyprus and Lebanon but it has not been ratified by the Lebanese parliament, following a Cypriot-Israeli bilateral border accord, which Lebanon considers is in violation of its draft agreement with Cyprus. The conflict has resulted in a disputed zone between Lebanon and Israel.
- Lebanon and Syria also need to demarcate their EEZ territories. Syria has awarded a Russian firm a concession that straddles northern Lebanese waters.
- Greek and Turkish Cypriots are holding negotiations under UN auspices to settle the Cyprus problem and resolve the gas issue between the island’s Greek and Turkish communities.
— LTA (@LTANoCorruption) 7 juillet 2016
— Lebanon Gas and Oil (@LebanonGasOil) 26 août 2016