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Lebanon's muted celebrations

IOCs' wariness takes the shine off Lebanon's first licensing round

This should be the year when Lebanon celebrates the coming of age of its long-nascent energy sector, with an eye on the estimated 95 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 0.75bn barrels of oil in its offshore. At the start of 2017 the political blocks were mostly in place and signs looked promising. After 30 months without a president, Michel Aoun had been elected head of state and Saad al-Hariri had formed a government. The new administration then passed laws governing bidding and contracts, allowing the country's energy minister Cesar Abi Khalil on 26 January to announce a timetable for the first offshore licensing round. On offer are blocks 1, 4, 8, 9 and 10. The minister said that the

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