BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Cabinet approved on Thursday two bids for offshore oil and gas exploration by a global consortium of energy companies in the country’s first licensing round.
The consortium, comprising France’s Total, Italy’s ENI and Russia’s Novatek, came forward with bids for two of the 5 blocks that were open for bidding. Lebanon's exclusive economic zone was divided into 10 blocks in total.
The two blocks approved are block 4 and 9.
The Cabinet meeting kicked off Thursday at the Baabda Presidential Palace, the second to be held since Prime Minster Hariri’s return from Saudi Arabia, with 145 items on its agenda.
Discussions over the Council for Development and Reconstruction’s latest proposal on waste management, expected to include expansions for the Costa Brava and Burj Hammoud landfills, and the Telecommunications Ministry’s demand to extend the contracts for the operators of Lebanon’s two mobile phone companies, Touch and Alfa, were adjourned.
Ministers also approved the Dbayeh-Oqaybeh infrastructure project to alleviate the traffic problems hampering Lebanon’s highways.
The project entails building numerous bridges and tunnels linking Lebanon’s north towns to Beirut, and will be funded by a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) contract.
The project, as well as the expansion of the Jounieh highway, is expected to take several years before it’s fully operational.
The Cabinet also approved the appointment of Judge Mohammed Makewy and Judge Kamal Abou Jaoude as the governors of Mount Lebanon and Bekaa respectively.
During the Cabinet session, Hariri reiterated the need to abide by the government's dissociation policy.
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