The Daily Star – Speaker Nabih Berri vowed Wednesday to take matters into his own hands to stop Israel from stealing Lebanon’s oil and gas.
In his weekly meeting with MPs from various blocs, Berri was quoted as saying that Lebanon has been passive while Israel siphons off its oil and gas.
Berri told his visitors of a deal between Greece, Cyprus and Israel involving Lebanon’s untapped deposits.
“We should take serious steps to defend our oil resources and invest in them, or else I will not remain silent and idle,” he told the lawmakers.
Berri had told Al-Akhbar earlier this week that he had received credible information from an unnamed “international scientist” that Israel had started siphoning off gas from one of Lebanon’s reserves in an area close to the southern border with Israel.
The oil and gas is being siphoned off at a very low cost, he told the daily, vowing to raise the issue of licensing for offshore gas exploration at the start of the new year.
Last August, the Lebanese government postponed for the fifth time the first round of licensing for offshore gas exploration due to political disagreements.
The dispute was over the designation of blocks open for bidding and the terms of a draft exploration and production agreement.
Experts had warned that some international companies were re-evaluating the situation in light of the repeated delays of the licensing round.