BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri Friday hailed the licensing of a consortium of international oil companies to begin oil and gas exploration, and congratulated the Lebanese people for the recent developments.
Hariri posted a short video clip on his official Twitter account that showed a map of Lebanon and its offshore blocks, with block 4 and 9 - where the licenses were approved - highlighted in red. "Congratulations Lebanon and congratulations to the Lebanese," Hariri wrote, using a hashtag: #Lebanon_is_an_oil_country.
The Cabinet Thursday approved the recently awarded licenses for a consortium of three oil companies - France’s Total, Italy’s ENI and Russian Novatek, setting the path for exploration of oil and gas in 2019.
Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said Friday that drilling for oil and gas in blocks 4 and 9, which lie in north and south respectively, will begin in 2019.
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt also praised Cabinet's decision. Jumblatt wrote in a tweet that resolving public debt and corruption was vital to preserving the investment of these resources.