Report: Berri-Aoun End their Oil Dispute as Cabinet to Approve Decreesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speaker Nabih Berri and Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun have resolved their dispute over the oil file, reported the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Saturday.
It said that the two sides agreed to issue contracts over the oil fields adjacent to the Israeli blocks after the speaker had warned that the neighboring state could exploit Lebanon's offshore wealth.
The disagreements were over the designation of blocks open for bidding and the terms of a draft exploration agreement.
Berri was seeking to open all the blocks for bidding, while former Energy Minister Jebran Bassil sought to open them in installments.
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian hoped that the cabinet's signing of the oil decrees would serve as “gift” to the Lebanese people in 2015.
Once signed, Lebanon can go ahead and begin exploring and drilling for oil and gas in its offshore fields.
Petroleum expert Rabih Yaghi told the daily that should Lebanon commence practical steps in oil drilling and exploration, it would be able to make gains from this wealth in at least seven to eight years.
Israel has already started its exploration as has Cyprus and even Syria, in spite of its conflict, noted the daily.
Lebanon and Israel are at loggerheads over the 850 kilometers of territorial water that each claims as part of its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Earlier this week, Berri had said that the cabinet is expected to discuss soon oil exploration decrees that have been left in the government's drawers over political differences.
The speaker is spearheading a campaign to revive the oil exploration file in Lebanon after accusing Israel of “stealing” Lebanon's offshore gas.
He has also been calling for the demarcation of the southern territorial waters.