Lebanese Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil announced on Thursday that a tender on the first round of offshore energy blocks has been ended.
“The first licensing round for oil exploration closed,” he said during a press conference
He said that two consortiums had made bids, which will now be evaluated by the Lebanese Petroleum Authority and cabinet.
It will take at least five years for revenue from any of the blocks to start flowing to the country, he explained.
Lebanon relaunched the licensing round for five offshore blocks (1, 4, 8, 9 and 10) in January after a three-year delay due to political paralysis. It extended the bid deadline in September.
The minister rejected claims of political meddling in the tender process.
Abi Khalil revealed that French, Italian and Russian companies involved in the two bids, but he refused to give further details.
A total of 52 companies qualified earlier in the year to bid in this round.
Lebanon sits on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean along with Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Syria. A number of gas fields have been discovered there since 2009, such as the Leviathan and Tamar fields.
When the process was first launched in 2013, 46 companies qualified to take part in bidding, 12 of them as operators, including Chevron Corp, Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp.