With news spreading earlier in the summer of hydrocarbons buried beneath Lebanon’s coast, it seems the vultures have already started circling:
Lebanon is receiving offers from several international companies seeking to participate in the country’s planned offshore oil and gas exploration operations, pan-Arab Al Hayat daily reports Tuesday citing the Lebanese minister of energy and water Gibran Bassil.
These companies are interested in signing agreements and memoranda of understanding as well as setting up representative offices in Lebanon, Bassil told the paper, adding that the likelihood of discovering natural gas in the country’s territorial waters is very high.
Not only that,the government is looking to restart the oil refineries:
In related news, Bassil said according to the daily that his ministry plans to re-start the local refineries and the two crude oil pipelines on its territories and is in talks with companies and countries for this purpose.
Great news if it materializes, especially for jobs in the vicinity of the refineries but both the plants and pipelines are in horrible condition. Post-war Iraq was interested early on with reopening its pipelines to the Mediterranean via Lebanon but it decided to settle with Turkey (negotiating terms with one country is easier than negotiating with two – Lebanon and Syria). Qatar had also launched plans in 2005 to build a new refinery in the country, a feasibility study was completed the but issue fell silent shortly after.
But it seems Israel’s find has brought the oil giants to our doors, let’s not forget Eni CEO was in the country just last week, offering their ‘assistance’ in drilling for hydrocarbons.