53 energy companies from 25 countries submitted bids in the prequalification stage of Lebanon's offshore oil and gas exploration tenders. They include oil majors Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and ExxonMobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) of the US, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell plc (LSE; Euronext: RDSA, RDSB; NYSE: RDS.A, RDS.B), Russia's Rosneft, Italy's ENI SpA (BIT: ENI, NYSE: E), France's Total SA (Euronext: FP; NYSE: TOT), and Norway's Statoil ASA (OSE: STL; NYSE: STO).
All the companies in the tenders boycott Israel. Shell is considering selling its 23% stake in Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (ASX: WPL), after the latter signed a letter of intent to acquire 30% of the rights in Israel's Leviathan gas field. Total and ENI both acquired offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in Cyprus late last year.
Lebanon's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) covers 23,000 square kilometers, about the same size as Israel's EEZ. The current tenders are Lebanon's first-ever offshore energy exploration tenders. Interest in the tenders was spiked by Israel's Tamar and Leviathan discoveries.
Israeli oil and gas exploration sources believe that Lebanon has potential discoveries as large as Israel's. Israel and Lebanon dispute the border between their EEZs, although the differences are not great.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 7, 2013
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