03 What has Lebanon done so far?
Timeline for Oil and Gas in Lebanon and the region
1930s
1st Legislation for Oil Exploration
French Mandate legislates petroleum exploration in Lebanon
1938
Iraq Petroleum Company Explores for Oil in Lebanon
The Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) receives a permit to conduct geological fieldwork – work is suspended due to war.
1947-48
Iraq Petroleum Company Explores for Oil in Lebanon
IPC drills an exploratory well near Jabal Tarbol in the Beqaa Valley to the depth of 1,950.72 meters; the results were inconclusive.
1953-54
Lebanese Petroleum Company Explores for Oil
Compagnie libanaise des pétroles (Lebanese Petroleum Company) drills exploratory well in Yamour; another well is drill near Nahr Ibrahim; inconclusive results.
1959-60
Lebanese Petroleum Company Explores for Oil
Lebanese Petroleum Company drills exploratory wells in al Qa, Adloun, and another in Yamour.
1963
Lebanese Petroleum Company Explores for Oil
Lebanese Petroleum Company drills exploratory well in Tall Dhnoub in the western Bekaa Valley.
1970-71
Surveying Begins Offshore Tripoli
Seismic surveys offshore Tripoli.
1990
Lebanon and Syria Agree to Explore for Oil.
Lebanon and Syria sign cooperation agreement entitled “Committee of Cooperation between Lebanon and Syria for Oil Exploration in Lebanon”.
1993-94
Seismic Surveying Continues Offshore Tripoli
Lebanon commissions GecoPrakla to conduct 2D seismic survey off the coast of Tripoli.
Jan 1996
Israel and Jordan Set Maritime Boundaries
Israel reaches agreement with Jordan to delineate maritime boundaries.
1999
Lebanon Receives Plan for Exploration
UK ATenergy designs and proposes plan for exploration, no action taken by Lebanese government.
1999
Gas Discovery Off Coast of Palestine
Palestine discovers Gaza Marine Gas Field, a 39.6 billion cubic meters gas find.
1999
Gas Discovery Off Coast of Israel
Israel discovers Noa gas field containing nearly 14 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Feb 2000
Israel Discovers Mari-B Gas Field
Israel announces Mari-B gas field, a 28.3 billion cubic meters discovery.
2001
Lebanon Plans its EEZ
Lebanon’s Higher Council for Privatization commissions Southampton Oceanographic Centre to study demarcation of Exclusive Economic Zone.
2001
Private Company to Advise Lebanon on Exploration
Lebanon’s Higher Council for Privatization commissions UK ATenergy to advise on developing exploration licensing.
2002
More Seismic Surveys for Offshore Lebanon
Contract signed with Spectrum Geo for 2D seismic surveys of offshore Lebanon.
2003
Lebanon Studies Potential of Seismic Data
Lebanon’s Higher Council for Privatization commissions UK company Exploration Consultants Ltd to interpret Spectrum’s seismic survey data.
2003
Spectrum to Sell Lebanon’s Seismic Data
Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water grants Spectrum exclusive rights to market seismic data until August 2007.
Nov 2003
Syria Defines its EEZ
Syria passes law defining its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Apr 2004
Cyprus Defines its EEZ
Cyprus passes law defining its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Nov 2005
3D Surveying to Commence Offshore Lebanon
Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water inks contract with PGS to conduct 3D seismic survey acquisition and interpretation off the coast of Lebanon.
2006-12
Lebanon signs development agreement with Norway
Lebanon signs cooperation agreement with Norway’s Oil for Development program. The six year, first phase, focused on establishing the regulatory framework needed to pursue petroleum exploration.
Jan 2007
Lebanon and Cyprus Negotiate Maritime Borders
Lebanon and Cyprus agree in principle to terms over demarcating their Exclusive Economic Zones. The Lebanese government has never ratified this agreement.
Sep 2007
Lebanon Sets Vision for Oil Exploration
Lebanon’s Council of Minister’s passes its petroleum policy drafted with assistance for the Norwegians. The legislation was endorsed by the Parliament in August 2010.
2009
Israel Defines its EEZ
Israel passes law defining its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Jan 2009
Major Gas Find Offshore Israel
Tamer gas field discovered offshore Israel, a reservoir estimated to contain 283.1 million cubic meters of natural gas.
Apr 2009
Lebanon Determines Northern Points of EEZ
Lebanese army geographers established the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone along the lines of two points that are shared with Cyprus and Syria.
Mar 2009
Gas Discovery Off the Coast of Israel
Israel discovers Dalit gas field containing an estimated 14.1 billion cubic meters of gas.
May 2009
Lebanon Submits EEZ Coordinates to UN
Lebanon’s Council of Ministers endorses the army’s findings and deposits the geographical coordinates defining the Southern limit of Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone at office of the UN Secretary General in July 2010.
Dec 2009
Israel Discovers Another Large Gas Field
Israel – Noble Energy announces discovery of the Tamar gas.
Apr 2010
East Mediterranean Gas Potential Estimated At 122 Tcf
United States Geological Survey releases its report on the Eastern Mediterranean suggesting 122 trillion cubic feet gas potential.
Aug 2010
Lebanon Parliament Adopts Oil Law
Parliament passes Offshore Petroleum Resources Law # 132/2010.
Aug 2010
UN to Mitigate Lebanon Israel Maritime Dispute
Maritime boundary proposal submitted to United Nations for mediation with Israel, outcome pending.
Oct 2010
Lebanon Determines Southern Point of EEZ
Lebanon charts the geographical coordinates of its southern maritime border with Israel and its southwestern border with Cyprus with the UN Secretary General. Find UN documentation here
Dec 2010
Israel Discovers its Largest Gas Field Yet
Israel – Noble Energy announces Leviathan gas field the existence of a major gas field, a nearly 622.9 billion cubic meters discovery.
Dec 2010
Cyprus Israel Agree on Maritime Boundaries
Agreement between Cyprus and Israel over Exclusive Economic Zones; in February 2011 Cyprus ratifies this agreement.
June 2011
Lebanon Clarifies its EEZ Borders to UN
The Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants addressed a letter to the UN Secretary General clarifying that Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone boundary.
July 2011
Israel Disputes Lebanon’s EEZ Claims
Israel ignores Lebanon’s protests to the UN and deposits the geographical coordinates of its northern territorial waters Exclusive Economic Zone.
Aug 2011
Lebanon Formally Demarcates its Maritime Boundaries
Lebanon’s Parliament adopts Law No. 163 on the Delineation and Declaration of the Maritime Zones of the Republic of Lebanon (Official Gazette N° 39, 25 August 2011). As part of this law, in October 2011 Cabinet decree 6433 demarcates Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Sep 2011
Lebanon Objects to Cyprus Israel Maritime Borders
Lebanon’s Foreign Minister addresses another letter to the UN Secretary General objecting to the agreement signed between Israel and Cyprus and ascertaining that the points that Israel adopted are in violation of Lebanese sovereignty.
Nov 2011
Israel Discovers Small Gas Field Offshore
Dolphin gas field discovery estimated to contain 15.5 million cubic meters later downgraded to 2.2 million cubic meters in 2012.
Dec 2011
Cyprus Discovers Large Gas Field in Offshore Waters
Cyprus discovers Aphrodite gas field. In June 2015 Cyprus announces plans for the commercialization of this field.
Jan 2012
Lebanon’s Cabinet Ratifies Oil Law
Lebanon’s Council of Ministers ratifies Offshore Petroleum Resources Law # 132/2010.
Feb 2012
Gas Field Discovered by Israel
Discovery of Tanin gas field offshore Israel, an estimated 36.8 billion cubic meters gas discovery.
Mar 2012
Cyprus Lebanon Disagree Over Amending Maritime Borders
Cyprus informs Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri that the flaws that Lebanon claim in the EEZ agreements are of no concern to Cyprus, reiterating that amending the existing treaty with Lebanon will only happen by agreement between the three countries; Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel.
Mar 2012
US Officials Offer to Mediate Maritime Border Disputes
The United States offers to mediate the maritime dispute between Lebanon and Israel.
May 2012
Lebanon Prepares its Environmental Protection Plan
RPS concludes its consultation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment, a comprehensive policy planning tool to guide environmental decisionmaking regarding full lifecycle of oil and gas from exploration to export.
Nov 2012
Lebanon Appoints Oil Regulator
Board of Lebanese Petroleum Administration formed after months of debate and missed deadlines.
Dec 2012
UNDP to Support Environmental Protection
UNDP inks cooperation agreement (SODEL) with Lebanese government to address environmental challenges of petroleum exploration.
Dec 2012
Lebanon Announces First Offshore Licensing Round
Lebanon’s first offshore oil and gas licensing round approved.
Dec 2012
US Mediates Lebanon Israel Maritime Dispute
Fredrick Hof, US Special Coordinator for Regional Affaris, gave Lebanon and Israel a map that proposed a compromise for dividing natural gas resources between them. In 2014, the US mediation proposal aimed at creating a ‘Maritime Separation Line.’ The proposal envisaged a buffer zone where no petroleum activities would be allowed without the consent of the other party. It also aimed at reaching a unitization framework agreement for future right holder companies to enter into joint explorations of maritime blocks.
Feb 2013
Cabinet Approves Implementation Decrees for Oil Law
Council of Ministers approves Petroleum Activities Regulations (PAR) – a collection of application decrees filling out the offshore petroleum resources law.
Feb 2013
Lebanon Launches First Offshore Licensing Round
Pre-qualification phase commences. In March, the prequalification round closes with 46 companies eligible to bid in Lebanon’s first licensing round.
May 2013
Israel Discovers Gas Field
Israel announces Karish gas field, a potential 56.6 billion cubic meters discovery, near waters disputed with Lebanon.
Aug 2014
Lebanon Postpones Licensing Round Indefinitely
After several postponements the MoEW announces a new deadline for the first licensing round to be 6 months after the government passes necessary decrees.
Aug 2014
Lebanon Publishes Vision for Environmental Protection
The LPA publishes the Strategic Environmental Assessment.
Dec 2014
Aerial Surveys of Onshore Lebanon
NEOS Geosolutions completes aerial survey of 6,000 square kilometers onshore Lebanon.
Jan 2015
Lebanon Renews Development Agreement With Norway
Lebanon signs agreement with Norway’s Oil for Development, a second phase 3 year program to build institutional capacities of the Lebanese Petroleum Administration, Ministry of Energy and Water, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Environment.
Jun 2015
US Officials Continue Mediation Efforts
US Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy Amos Hochstein visits Lebanon to continue talks on maritime boundary dispute with Israel – no progress was reported.
Jan 2017
Cabinet ratifies necessary decrees to begin delayed bidding round

On January 4th, 2016 Lebanon’s new government passed two needed decrees that had delayed development of an offshore oil and gas sector since 2013. Without the decrees, one pertaining to block delineation and the other to the Tender Protocol and Exploration and Production Agreement (EPA), international oil companies cannot bid for rights to explore for oil and gas in Lebanese waters.

April 2017
Ministry of Energy announces eligible companies for first offshore oil and gas licensing

On April 26, 2017 the ministry of energy announced the companies that are qualified to submit bids in Lebanon's first offshore oil and gas licensing round, with contracts set to be signed in November. The qualified companies now total 51, including those that were greenlit during the first qualification round back in 2013.

Sep 2017
Minister of Energy and Water announces the extension of the first offshore oil and gas bidding round

On September 7, the minister of Energy and Water, Cezar Abi Khalil, extends the bidding round from September 15 to October 12. 

Oct 2017
Closure of first bidding round for oil and gas exploration

On October 12th, the Minister of Energy and Water announces the closure of the bidding round. One consortium, composed of TOTAL, ENI, and NOVATEK, submits two separate bids on blocks 4 and 9. 

Dec 2017
Cabinet of Ministers approves two bids on blocks 4 & 9
Jan 2018
Lebanese Government Signs first exploration and production agreements with consurtium
Mar 2018
Lebanese Government publishes signed EPAs
May 2018
Minister of Energy & Water approves exploration plans for blocks 4 & 9
May 2018
Preparation for Lebanon’s second offshore licensing round

Council of Ministers approves a recommendation from the LPA for preparing Lebanon’s second offshore licensing round

Aug 2018
Draft law for "Whistle Blower Protection" is approved

On the 26th of July, parliament joint committees approve Whistle Blower Protection law

Sep 2018
Draft law for “Strengthening transparency in the petroleum sector” is approved

On September 6th, 2018 the following joint parliamentary committees were present during a joint parliamentary meeting and approved the draft law. 

- Committee of Finance and Budget 

- Committee for National Defense, Interior and Municipalities 

- Committee for National Economy, Trade, Industry and Planning 

- Committee for Agriculture and Justice 

- Committee for Public Works, Transport, Energy and Water

- Committee for administration and justice.

Oct 2018
"Whistle Blower Protection" Law is passed (Law 83/2018)

Parliament holds a general assembly and ratifies the law "Whistle Blower Protection Law" (Law 83/2018)

Oct 2018
“Strengthening transparency in the petroleum sector” law is passed (Law 84/2018)

Parliament holds a general assembly and ratifies the law "Strengthening transparency in the petroleum sector" (Law 84/2018). Law is accessible here

BASICS about Oil and Gas in Lebanon