This article was published in LOGI's June 2020 newsletter in partnership with Kulluna Irada.
Lebanon’s energy ministry postponed the country’s second offshore oil and gas licensing round until before the end of 2021, citing the harsh effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international oil and gas markets.
"The outbreak of COVID-19 all over the world has had devastating effects on the petroleum sector, leading to low demand for oil and gas and a sharp decline in prices of these two commodities,” Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar said in a statement.
This was the third postponement of the licensing round since its launch in April 2020, with the deadline to submit offers first delayed from January 2020 to April 2020 and then June 2020.
The ministry said it would go through a period of re-evaluating international markets that have seen demand for hydrocarbons slashed as international trade and transport slowed due to the pandemic.
It said that the conditions of the licensing round may be amended based on what is deemed necessary to increase the interest of international oil and gas companies.
Such changes are likely to include less favorable terms for Lebanon and must first make their way through a participatory and inclusive process in order to avoid rushed decisions during such critical times for the country.