The Lebanese Council of Ministers awarded on July 14th a study to the company Schlumberger in order to estimate the quantity of hydrocarbon in the Lebanese onshore and the country’s territorial waters including Block 4, where the Consortium Total, Eni and Novatek finished last month the drilling of the first exploration well. The project amount is 650.000 US Dollars.
Based on which data the study will be conducted is unknown and very questionable how the hydrocarbon will be estimated if there is no discovery yet, whether onshore or offshore.
Ministerial sources disclosed that 9 out of 20 ministers were against this decision.
All “Lebanon Gas News” attempts with the Minister of Energy Mr. Raymond Ghajar, the Lebanese Petroleum Administration and the Company Schlumberger to have more information about the study’s scope fell on deaf ears.
This award breaks several Lebanese Laws, notably the transparency Law No. 84/2018, which sets the rules of award and disclosure of contracts related to the exploration and production activities.
Industry sources informed our website that no tender was publicly announced, and the award took place without any competitive bidding.
As for the financing of the study, it remains unknown whether the company is going to be paid in Lebanese Pounds which have seen its value depreciating by 80% during the last few months or in US Dollars which became scarce during the last period. Lebanon was not able to import the fuel needed to operate its power plants, whilst the power supply of the Lebanese utility EDL has consisted of just one hour supply per day in several areas of Lebanon. Many imported food products started to be missing in the supermarkets.
Local and international NGOs active in Lebanon, and which monitor the oil and gas activities, expressed concern to our website over this sneaked award and how an international company like Schlumberger, which is supposed to comply by a high transparency and governance level, did enter into this shady deal.