Beirut, Feb 16 (IANS/EFE): Lebanon's energy and water minister has announced the launch of a pre-qualification phase for companies interested in developing oil and gas reserves in the country's territorial waters.
Gebran Bassil said in a press conference that potential bidders have until March 28 to submit their applications and that authorities will produce a list of pre-qualified companies by April 18.
The bidding process will be opened May 2 and pre-qualified companies will have six months to submit their bids, Bassil said, adding that the contracts are to be signed in February 2014 and the development phase will start in 2015.
Significant oil and natural gas reserves have been found in Lebanese territorial waters during preliminary exploration work.
In late January, the government formed a special committee to oversee the oil and gas reserves discovered in the Mediterranean Sea. Those resources are the subject of dispute with Israel, since the southernmost reserves are located along the countries' disputed maritime border.