BEIRUT: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and the National Iranian Drilling Corporation are among the 52 international energy companies submitting applications to participate in Lebanon’s first offshore gas licensing round, the energy minister said Thursday after the prequalification deadline.


Despite the political deadlock, caretaker Minister Gebran Bassil said the Petroleum Administration would announce the names of qualified firms on April 18 and begin accepting bids on May 2, as planned. Two decrees establishing a model exploration and production sharing contract and the number of blocks that will be auctioned off still need to be approved by the Cabinet in order for licenses to be granted, but Bassil pledged to stay on schedule. “This will not stop the process,” he said. “Of course the government needs to approve the two decrees, however the process of the bidding was announced and adopted by the government of Lebanon. It is effective and it will take place as announced.” [Link]