Mansour: We Will Prove to World that Israel is Taking our Share of Offshore Wealthإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour accused Israel of seeking to take Lebanon's share of its offshore gas and oil wealth, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Friday.
He told the daily: “We will prove to the world that the Israelis are taking our offshore wealth.”
He stressed that Lebanon will resort to diplomatic and international laws to demonstrate Israel's violations, adding: “We will not abandon our rights.”
“The Israeli threats against Lebanon are useless,” he declared.
Moreover, Mansour said that Lebanon has been monitoring the oil and gas file ever since the offshore reserves were discovered.
“We will demonstrate our claim to this wealth through international legal means,” he stated.
On Tuesday, caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil lashed out at Israel, considering that it cannot prevent Lebanon from protecting its oil reserves as he accused it of digging a well 5 kilometers from Lebanese offshore reserves.
Lebanon and Israel are bickering over a zone that consists of about 854 square kilometers and suspected energy reserves there could generate billions of dollars.
Bassil had previously warned in July that Israel’s discovery of a new offshore gas field near Lebanese territorial waters means the Jewish state could siphon some of Lebanon’s crude oil.
In March 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 34.5 trillion cubic meters of recoverable gas in the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean, which includes the territorial waters of Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Cyprus.
Lebanon has been slow to exploit its maritime resources compared with other eastern Mediterranean countries. Israel, Cyprus and Turkey are all much more advanced in drilling for oil and gas.
The formation of the Petroleum Authority in November was the first major step in future oil exploration since parliament passed a law in 2011 setting Lebanon's maritime boundary and Exclusive Economic Zone.
The country will witness the first oil exploration process in 2015 and it will take a year to enter the production stage.