On February 15, 2013 the Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water held a press conference launching the pre-qualification process for oil companies to bid on offshore oil and gas exploration. The Minister outlined the timeline and next steps in Lebanon’s offshore oil and gas sector.
The licensing and bidding phase is expected to take a year to complete. Contracts are expected to be signed with winning international oil companies in February 2014, according to the Minister of Energy and Water.
The exploration for oil and gas will then start immediately and be completed in 18-24 months. The development phase can then take its course in 2016 before full oil and gas production and revenues start flowing to the Lebanese government.
The first oil and gas commercially extracted is expected in 2017-2018 – assuming no technical or political delays.
The announcement only focused on Lebanon’s offshore licensing, exploration and production phases. No announcements have been made on next steps regarding the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund and the management of oil and gas revenues; nor the development of Lebanon’s onshore oil and gas resources besides the launch of onshore seismic surveys.