The deadline to participate in the new prequalification round for oil and gas exploration off Lebanon’s coast has passed with nine new companies applying to take part in the first licensing round, said a statement issued by the Energy Ministry and the Lebanese Petroleum Administration.
“The deadline to participate in the new prequalification round for oil and gas exploration in Lebanon has ended on March 31, and nine new companies have applied to take part in the bid,” the statement, which was issued over the weekend, said.
The nine new companies are:
ONGC Videsh Limited
Sapurakencana Energy SDN BHD
Sonatrach International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corporation
Qatar Petroleum International Limited
Advanced Energy Systems (ADES) SAE
Vega Petroleum Limited/Edgo Energy Limited/Petroleb SAL.
In 2013, the ministry also launched a prequalification round and 46 out of 52 companies were accepted. But the process did not continue due to the political deadlock that delayed the approval of two draft decrees pertaining to the delineation of seawaters falling under the jurisdiction of the Lebanese state into zones in the form of blocks, along with tender documents on the licensing rounds in sea waters and a model agreement on exploration and production.
Upon the formation of a new Cabinet, the two long-awaited decrees were finally approved, clearing the way for the first licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration.
As a result, the government announced that it would put blocks 1, 4, 8, 9 and 10 up for bidding in the first licensing round.
The statement issued over the weekend said that 14 companies that applied to the 2013 prequalification round have also updated their files according to the conditions specified by the LPA by giving the needed information about any changes they have been made and that may impact their qualification to participate in oil and gas exploration in Lebanon.
“Companies have updated their files by giving their audited financial statements for the years 2014 and 2015 and unaudited statements for 2016,” the statement said.
It added that the LPA is contacting the rest of the companies that participated in the first prequalification round to update their files.
The statement also explained that the criteria adopted for the qualification of these companies cover four main areas: legal, technical, financial and environmental.
According to the statement, the participating companies should be joint stock companies or the equivalent and they should submit legal statements to prove this fact.
It added that companies taking part in the auction should have expertise in oil and gas exploration in over 500 meters’ depth of water in addition to having previously produced petroleum.
It noted as well that companies must have minimum capital of $10 billion in addition to proving to the LPA that they are capable of adopting healthy and environmentally friendly measures and processes in their work.
The statement said that the minister and the LPA will announce the results of the second prequalification round on April 13, 2017.
Companies will be able to submit their bids on the open blocks before Sept. 15.
The list of applicants for each block will be published on Sept. 22, then “the evaluation of the bids and the signature of [exploration and production agreements] will follow as of Nov. 15, 2017.
Source: The Daily Star 2017.
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