Rumour in Lebanon is spreading that some good news may well be heard in 2015. The country’s hydrocarbon industry has been struggling to take off due to a political impasse impeding progress. In march 2013, a pre-qualification round attracted the majors of the industry. The interest of international oil and gas companies boosted the confidence of a country relying on its hydrocarbon potential to cover a public debt of almost $60 billion, end its frequent power outages and enhance a poor economy.
Repeated delays and postponements led to the lack of confidence in the country’s ability to launch explorations. Two esential decrees - one delimitating the blocks opened for bidding and the second setting the model sharing and production agreement - are yet to be issued by the government. Disagreement over whether to auction all ten blocks or progressively has also divided the political class. Meanwhile, Cyprus has made a major discovery in Block 12 of its Exclusive Economic Zone (the Aphrodite field estimated at 3.6 to 6 Tcf) and is searching for more. Israel too has discovered giant fields (Tamar and Leviathan estimated at respectively 10 and 21 Tcf) and is in the process of finalising an export strategy albeit with some regulatory hurdles.