The Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) has extended its deadline for offers in the country’s second licensing round. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant more time for oil and gas exploration firms to bid on five blocks offshore Lebanon.

The deadline is now 1 June 2020,  moving from 30 April.

The Government of Lebanon approved the launch of the second offshore licensing round in April last year, in a bid to further develop its energy sector.

Lebanon Minister of Energy and Water Raymond Ghajar said: “Given the implications of the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) worldwide, the Council of Ministers’ announcement of public mobilisation in Lebanon, and the resulting impacts on the course of the Second Offshore Licensing Round on deadlines given to International Oil Companies to undertake preparations to submit Licensing Round Applications.

“The Minister of Energy and Water issued a decision to postpone the deadline to submit applications to participate in Lebanon’s Second Offshore Licensing Round from the 30th of April 2020 to the 1st of June 2020. The decision will be published in the Official Gazette and on the LPA website.”

Norwegian survey services firm Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) is the official data provider of the round.

In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production contracts for two energy blocks with a consortium of Total, Eni and Novatek.

In December 2017, Total, Eni and Novatek consortium secured offshore energy rights from the Lebanese Government to find and develop oil and natural gas off the country’s Mediterranean coast.

This February, Total anchored a drilling vessel off the coast of Lebanon, set to drill the first exploration well in the country’s waters.