Lebanon's potential offshore natural gas reserves are estimated at 25 trillion cubic feet (TCF), according to initial estimates carried out in the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The estimates are somewhat lower than Israel's gas discoveries made to date, but potentially much larger than Cypriot discoveries. Lebanon plans to sell oil and gas exploration licenses in its EEZ through public auction in March.
Next week, Lebanon will announce which companies passed the prequalification stage and will participate in the auction. Lebanon expects oil majors to participate in the auction, including companies which avoid Israel because of fears of harming their interests in the Arab world.
Lebanese natural gas could compete against Israeli gas in export markets, although Israeli has a five-year lead over Lebanon in exploration operations, and Cyprus has a one-year lead.
Estimates by the Lebanese Energy Council, chaired by Roudi Baroudi, were presented at recent conferences in Cyprus and Turkey. The estimates are based on 2D and 3D seismic surveys carried out in the past few years in Lebanon's EEZ. Geologists believe that the main potential gas reserves will be found west of southern Lebanon, north along the line of the Tamar and Leviathan discoveries in Israel's EEZ. This line is where the Tamar Sands geological formation, which is rich in gas and possibly oil as well, is located.
Gas discoveries in Israel's EEZ to date total 28 TCF, including 17 TCF at Leviathan and 9.5 TCF at Tamar. There has only been one discovery so far in Cyprus's EEZ, the Aphrodite discovery in Block 12, which has 5-7 TCF. Last year, Cyprus awarded exploration licenses for the most attractive blocks in its EEZ.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 25, 2013
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