Lebanon’s Offshore Natural Gas Potential

There should be no shortage of inspiration among Lebanon’s fractious political leadership to unite in harnessing the country’s offshore natural gas potential. Yet the delay in forming a

hydrocarbon committee is just one reminder of the many obstacles facing the country as it seeks to exploit newly­found offshore resources. Disputes over territorial boundaries with Israel will further impede Lebanon’s ability to exploit its offshore natural gas supplies.

The critical vulnerabilities inherent in the country’s sectarian patchwork are again transparent in this delay, and yet there are some encouraging signs. Recent efforts have shown just how much Lebanon wants to demonstrate to the world ­ and to the West in particular ­ that it is on track to

becoming a viable and attractive destination for international oil and gas companies. There is

reason for hope that many, though almost surely not all, of Lebanon’s political factions will at

least be able to gather behind this common cause. Provided of course that catastrophe, in the

form of major sectarian conflict, does not occur. The licensing round set for 2013 is to offer

production sharing contracts under the new offshore petroleum law, and the government is said to be planning for a liquefied natural gas terminal as well as a distribution network connecting energy plants and other facilities......continue reading

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