Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri has urged his government to tap the nation’s offshore natural gas reserves, warning that Israel may claim the resources.

Berri has submitted a bill to initiate exploration of potential offshore reserves, which the government could use to pay off the country’s national debt, according to AFP.

“Israel is racing to make the case a fait accompli and was quick to present itself as an oil emirate, ignoring the fact that, according to the maps, the deposit extends into Lebanese waters,” Berri said.