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Lebanese Gas Stuck In Political Mud

This week, Lebanon’s Energy Minister Gebran Bassil announced that his country’s offshore gas potential could end up being even more plentiful than first announced, telling Reuters that “under a probability of 50 percent, for almost 45 percent of our waters has reached 95.9 trillion cubic feet of gas and 865 million barrels of oil.” Bassil’s comments present a rosier assessment than earlier studies. However, they shouldn't  be confused with actual progress when it comes to exploiting Lebanon’s claims to the new-found Eastern Mediterranean offshore bonanza. Instead, the new findings highlight just how much Beirut is missing out on due to a lengthy list of political and fiscal challenges, most notably a political paralysis that has frozen the exploration efforts in place for much of the year. No New Cabinet, No Progress While a ballooning public debt and an influx of refugees from Syria over the last year pose a significant challenge to providing the stability necessary to kickstart a massive new exploration effort, it’s the country’s political landscape that is presenting the largest obstacle to Lebanon getting in on the region’s natural gas rush.