Lebanon is making good progress as it prepares to launch a new round of gas exploration tenders, according to the country’s Energy Minister, Arthur Nazarian.

“We had a positive meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail on the need to pass two decrees which is a condition to launch the offshore gas licensing round,” Nazarian told journalists in Lebanon.

Lebanon is currently ranked 30th in terms of global gas reserves, with an estimated 750 billion cubic metres of natural gas. In August, Italian energy firm Eni discovered one of the world’s biggest gas fields in Egypt’s Mediterranean waters. With Cyprus and Israel also making sizable discoveries in recent year, Lebanon will hope that its own Mediterranean waters will yield similar rewards.

Lebanon’s government will meet in the coming weeks to discuss two decrees, which need to be passed in order to expedite the tender process. The decrees are linked to block delineation, and the model exploration and production agreement (EPA).

Previous governments have failed to pass these two decrees but the current government is hopeful that a deal can be struck soon.

“There is definitely no political differences on the oil and gas issue. All sides are aware of the importance of this sector,” Nazarian told reporters from Lebanon’s Daily Star. 

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