Lebanon Speaker Urges Fast Action on Offshore Gas Reserves
June 9, 2010 by admin
(AFP) BEIRUT — Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday urged his government to begin exploring offshore natural gas reserves, warning that neighboring Israel planned to lay claim to the prospective resources.
“Lebanon must take immediate action to defend its financial, political, economic and sovereign rights,” said Berri, who has submitted a bill to launch exploration of potential offshore reserves.
“Exploring our options in this field is our best bet to pay off Lebanon’s debts,” he told reporters.
Lebanon’s national debt, among the highest in the world, currently stands at more than 50 billion dollars (41.6 billion euros), equivalent to some 148 percent of GDP.
“Israel is racing to make the case a fait accompli and was quick to present itself as an oil emirate, ignoring the fact that, according to the maps, the deposit extends into Lebanese waters,” he said.
In a statement on its website, Norway-based Petroleum Geo-Services recently announced it had explored Lebanese waters which contained “valuable information” on potential offshore gas reserves in coordination with the Lebanese energy and water ministry.
And US-based Noble Energy said on its website that it had discovered enough natural gas at the Israeli Tamar and Dalit offshore fields to meet Israel’s needs for years.
It also announced the Leviathan prospect, offshore Israel in the Rachel and Amit licenses, as its next planned exploration target in the region in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Lebanon and Israel remain technically in a state of war and have no diplomatic ties.