Minister claims Lebanon faces ‘conspiracy’ over gas fields

14 Feb 2014   Lebanon

As Lebanon’s political leaders and sectarian chieftains squabble over who will control the Energy Ministry and the oil and gas bonanza in the eastern Mediterranean, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil accuses rivals of “conspiring against our oil.” And just to underline the extent of the prize that’s at stake, one of Lebanon’s major banking houses, Bank Audi, reported that on the basis of the 96 trillion cubic feet of gas and 865 million barrels of oil the ministry estimates lies offshore, Lebanon’s energy wealth could exceed $600 billion. The bank said in the report published Thursday it was optimistic about the prospects for the nascent energy industry, even though Lebanon’s been without a functioning government since March 2013, has a $63 billion national debt, and is hovering on the brink of another bout of sectarian bloodletting linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria. […]

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