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Lebanon again postpones 2nd offshore licensing round due to pandemic

Highlights

Round postponed for 3rd time

Includes five blocks in Mediterranean Sea

First drilled well in awarded block had disappointing results

Dubai — Lebanon has postponed for a third time its second offshore licensing round due to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the oil and gas industry and the oil price crash, the energy and water ministry said in a statement on May 31.

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The ministry didn't give a new date for the round but said it is expected to take place before the end of 2021.

Lebanon had initially set the deadline for the submission of application for Jan. 31, then pushed it to April 30, and then June 1. The second round includes blocks 1, 2, 5, 8 and 10 in the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon's energy minister announced disappointing results for the first offshore exploration well drilled in Block 4 in April.

A drill group comprised of Eni, Novatek and Total had encountered small pockets of gas at the Byblos-1 well that indicated a petroleum system did indeed exist in the area, but that drilling had not detected a natural gas resource, Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar said at the time.

France's Total has signed two exploration and production agreements for blocks 4 and 9 as part of the first offshore licensing round launched in 2017.

Total is the operator of the blocks with a 40% interest in a consortium that also includes Eni's 40% interest and Novatek's 20%.