Aoun Says Oil Drilling to Have Positive Impact on Economy
President Michel Aoun announced Wednesday that the launch of offshore oil drilling in Lebanon will “positively affect the national economy and limit the negative repercussions it is facing.”
Aoun was speaking during a meeting in Baabda with Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar, Lebanese Petroleum Administration chief Walid Nasr and a delegation from French oil giant Total.
A drillship had anchored off Lebanon Tuesday to explore for oil and gas, raising hopes for a future boost to the country's crumbling economy. Information Minister Manal Abdul Samad said the first ever such exploration would start within 48 hours.
Aoun thanked the Total delegation for “contributing to realizing the dream of the Lebanese in the extraction of oil and gas from their land and waters.”
Lebanon is one of the most indebted countries in the world, with a burden equivalent to 150 percent of its GDP.
It is also in the grips of a severe liquidity crunch that has hampered imports, sparked price hikes and caused the value of the Lebanon pound to plummet on the parallel exchange market.