Author Archives: Mona Sukkarieh

Aphrodite’s blues

Aphrodite’s blues

As the final preparations for the May 8 trilateral summit between the heads of state of Cyprus, Israel, and Greece were being laid out—the fourth such summit in just over two years, with so far, more words than actions—news broke that Cyprus and Israel might resort to international arbitration to resolve a dispute over Aphrodite,

Don’t get caught up in the hype

It is tempting for resource-poor countries to overestimate the promise of newly discovered hydrocarbon resources, particularly in times of need. Cyprus’ experience after the discovery of the Aphrodite gas field in late 2011 is revealing. Back then, during a time of economic crisis, many placed unrealistic expectations on this potential offshore wealth, hoping  it would

Troubled waters

A comment made by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman at a Tel Aviv conference on January 31 sparked outrage in Lebanon, bringing the issue of the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel back into the spotlight and catching Washington’s attention once again. The Obama administration started mediating between Lebanon and Israel to help contain

A roadmap for 2018

This article was originally published in print on February 2, 2018 as part of Executive’s special report on oil & gas. At the end of January, Lebanon signed oil and gas Exploration and Production Agreements (EPA) with a consortium of companies composed of France’s Total (as operator), Italy’s Eni, and Russia’s Novatek. The consortium had

Lebanon’s oil & gas sector

  Lebanon is finally stepping into the exploration phase. The Council of Ministers approved the awarding of exploration and productions licenses mid-December to a consortium made of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek. Contracts are expected to be signed in January 2018. Given the context that surrounded the organization of Lebanon’s first offshore licensing

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

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,

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