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Lebanon’s Petroleum Sector: The Correct Expectations

Alessandro Bacci – April 3, 2018

ABSTRACT — The consortium comprising France’s Total, Italy’s E.N.I., and Russia’s Novatek has recently signed two exploration and production agreements (E.P.A.s) with the Republic of Lebanon covering Block 4 and Block 9 of Lebanon’s exclusive economic zone (E.E.Z). Now, the most critical point is setting up the correct expectations among Lebanon’s politicians and citizens. The seismic surveys conducted in the Lebanese waters have returned interesting results and present estimates stating that Lebanon’s E.E.Z. might contain about 25 Tcf of natural gas and 600 million barrels of oil—but, for the time being, these results are just estimates. So, until the operator starts drilling an exploratory well and then, hopefully an appraisal well, the hydrocarbons are just hypothetical hydrocarbons. For Lebanon, it’s necessary first, that the consortium find oil and/or gas and second, that these hydrocarbons be present in commercially exploitable quantities, i.e., quantities capable of covering all the involved capital expenditures (capex) and operating expenditures (opex) and of providing at the same time at least a minimum profit. Among the laws that the Parliament must adopt to complete the petroleum legislative framework, the most relevant is the Sovereign Wealth Fund (S.W.F.) Law, which is now at the initial stages of the Parliament approval.

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Alessandro Bacci is an independent energy consultant in relation to business strategy and corporate diplomacy (policy, government, and public affairs). Much of his activity is linked to the MENA region, an area where he lived for four years. Alessandro is now based in London, United Kingdom (www.alessandrobacci.com), and he is a member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (A.I.P.N.). A multilingual professional, Alessandro holds a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws from the University of Florence (Italy), a Master in Public Affairs from Sciences Po (France), and a Master in Public Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Singapore).  

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