03 What has Lebanon done so far?
Timeline for Oil and Gas in Lebanon and the region
1st Legislation for Oil Exploration
French Mandate legislates petroleum exploration in Lebanon
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.
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.
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.
Lebanese Petroleum Company Explores for Oil
Lebanese Petroleum Company drills exploratory wells in al Qa, Adloun, and another in Yamour.
Lebanese Petroleum Company Explores for Oil
Lebanese Petroleum Company drills exploratory well in Tall Dhnoub in the western Bekaa Valley.
Surveying Begins Offshore Tripoli
Seismic surveys offshore Tripoli.
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”.
Seismic Surveying Continues Offshore Tripoli
Lebanon commissions GecoPrakla to conduct 2D seismic survey off the coast of Tripoli.
Lebanon Receives Plan for Exploration
UK ATenergy designs and proposes plan for exploration, no action taken by Lebanese government.
Lebanon Plans its EEZ
Lebanon’s Higher Council for Privatization commissions Southampton Oceanographic Centre to study demarcation of Exclusive Economic Zone.
Private Company to Advise Lebanon on Exploration
Lebanon’s Higher Council for Privatization commissions UK ATenergy to advise on developing exploration licensing.
More Seismic Surveys for Offshore Lebanon
Contract signed with Spectrum Geo for 2D seismic surveys of offshore Lebanon.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Jan 2012
Lebanon’s Cabinet Ratifies Oil Law
Lebanon’s Council of Ministers ratifies Offshore Petroleum Resources Law # 132/2010.
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.
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.

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. 

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)

April 2019
Declaring Second Offshore Licensing Round for blocks 1, 2, 5, 8, 10.

On April 5, 2019 the ministry of energy announced that blocks 1, 2, 5, 8 and 10 are open to receive bids in the Second Offshore Licensing Round. 

The set of open blocks was selected based on the priorities and goals of the upstream oil and gas sector and the objectives of the Second Offshore Licensing Round. 


April 2019
Lebanon announces that drilling block 4 will start in December 2019

On April 2, 2019 the Chairman of the Lebanese Petroleum Authority- Walid Nasr-  announced that Lebanon will be ready by the end of 2019 to start the exploratory drilling in block 4 followed by block 9 in 2020.

Feb 2020
Arrival of Tungsten Explorer drill ship to the first drilling location in block 4 in the Lebanese offshore

On February 25th, 2020 Tungsten Explorer drillship arrived at the location of the first exploration well in block 4 of the Lebanese waters where two logistical support vessels were waiting for it at the drilling point to provide the necessary equipment

Feb 2020
Beginning of the exploration phase in the first well in block 4

On February 29th, 2020 Lebanon launched its first exploratory drill in block 4 with the consortium Total, ENI and Novatek. 

April 2020
Lebanon extends the application deadline of the second licensing round from April 30 till June 1st 2020

On April 3rd, 2020 Minister of Energy and Water Raymond Ghajar announced the extension of the application deadline of the second licensing round from April 30th till the 1st of June due to COVID-19 and lockdown consequences.

April 2020
The Minister of Energy and Water announces that the results of the first offshore exploration resulted in a dry well

On April 27th, 2020 Minister of Energy and Water Raymond Ghajar announced that Lebanon’s first foray into offshore exploration in block 4 has found a dry well

For more information, click here

May 2020
Lebanon postpones the deadline for the submission of applications for its second licensing round

On May 31st, 2020 The Ministry of Energy and Water Raymond Ghajar announced in a statement the postponement of the deadline for the submission of applications for its second licensing round citing the coronavirus pandemic and the declining oil prices that prompted exploration companies to decrease their investments and hold off their exploration activities.

For more information, click here

October 2020
Lebanon announces its intentions to start negotiating on the maritime border issue with Israel

On October 1st, 2020 Master of the parliament Nabih Berri announced Lebanon intention to start negotiating on the maritime border issue with Israel


October 2020
Lebanon holds its first virtual meeting to negotiate on the maritime border issue with Israel

On October 14th, 2020 Lebanon had its first round of indirect negotiations over disputed maritime borders with Israel. The one-hour session was hosted in a United Nations base in Naqoura, near the Israeli border, and was mediated by the US, with the presence of both national delegations and the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis.

For more information, click on Link1 and Link 2

February 2021
Lebanon discloses the beneficial ownership at the sub contractual level

In February 2021, The LPA published a list of all companies sub contracted to execute the drilling of the exploratory well in Block4.  The list also includes the names of the companies’ ultimate beneficial owners. 

Check it out here


BASICS about Oil and Gas in Lebanon