The chief executive of Cairn Energy, which is eyeing offshore Lebanon, Simon Thomson, believes there’s a lot more hydrocarbon resources to be discovered in the Mediterranean. Cairn Energy has expressed interest in the past in Lebanon’s hydrocarbon potential, and downplayed the repercussions of the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel, stating “it’s a fairly common thing around the world”. In August 2011, it formed a consortium with Cove Energy and CCC, a Lebanese construction company in preparation for the first licensing round for oil and gas exploration.
UAE’s Crescent Petroleum is also considering Lebanon as part of its expansion policy. According to Majid Jaafar, its chief executive, “It’s an area of potential interest”, as he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Dubai.
According to Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, over 50 companies have expressed interest in taking part in the upcoming bidding. This suggests a minimum level of confidence in the current government’s management of oil and gas affairs so far, despite repeated delays and a troubled regional context.