Author Archives: Mona Sukkarieh

Lebanon’s fiscal conundrum

Lebanon’s fiscal conundrum

There are two arguments being made today. Both agree the state should maximize its share of benefit, though they do not agree on what is the maximum benefit achievable. Some aim for a bid round that is as competitive as more comparable bid rounds—while others demand a greater level of state participation. While it is

Strengthen our environmental protections

As Lebanon gears up to explore for offshore oil and gas resources, it is critical that environmental protection is a front and center priority. Oil and gas development activities have high environmental risks that could impact Lebanese communities living along the coast, as well as businesses working in the fishery, tourism, and shipping sectors. To

The oil & gas waiting game

On June 22, Israel’s energy ministry announced that the deadline to place bids in the country’s first offshore licensing round would be pushed back until November 2017. This is the second time the bid round, which opened in November 2016, saw its end date postponed. With the second extension, it became harder to believe the

Russian expansionism

There’s no shortage of headlines about Russia’s grand design for the East Mediterranean gas resources. An unrealistic understanding of the strategic significance of these resources and the role they could play in weaning Europe away from Russian gas fuels these claims. In reality, we have yet to see a Russian breakthrough in the upstream oil

A roadmap for the first licensing round

On January 4 2017, the Lebanese government approved what many observers have been waiting for since March 2013: two oil and gas decrees, without which the country’s first licensing round could not proceed. One delineated offshore blocks, another detailed the model exploration and production agreement and set out the tender protocol. To signal its determination,

A national oil company for Lebanon?

It’s been three years since the nascent oil and gas sector in Lebanon was brought to a complete halt. The relative success of the pre-qualification round in 2013 brought the sector to center stage and contributed to the hype surrounding it. But the pre-qualification round was not followed by a tendering process. Instead, this was

An eye on Turkey

Despite being labeled “historic,” the trilateral summit held in Nicosia on January 28 among Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did not yield concrete results. The 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Cyprus, Greece and Israel formally established the three countries’ will to strengthen energy cooperation

Renewed dynamism

After a year riddled with difficult market conditions, dry wells and regulatory hurdles, the offshore oil and gas sector in the Eastern Mediterranean finally has good reasons to look forward to 2016. In Egypt, the August 2015 discovery of the so-called “supergiant” Zohr offshore natural gas field could not have come at a better time

Forbidden no more

Lebanon was most likely a marginal topic on the sideline of nuclear discussions in Vienna, but the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group is expected to have direct implications on local Lebanese politics. Since the deadlock in Lebanon is largely a reflection of regional deadlock, it would be reasonable to expect a possible

Exploration on hold

This article was written in May for the June edition of Executive Magazine. The third well drilled in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) failed to reveal commercially exploitable natural gas reserves. Italian multinational Eni’s Saipem 1000 drillship drilled to a depth of 5,485 meters in Amathusa, in Block 9, without yielding positive results. This is

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