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The Energy Ministry announced yesterday that it will extend the deadline for energy companies to apply for pre-licenses to explore Lebanon’s offshore territory in search of hydrocarbon deposits. The previous deadline for applying for these pre-licenses expired yesterday, according to a ministry source. In a statement, the ministry said the move is in order to allow additional companies to participate and generate “an acceptable level of competition.” To date, no significant hydrocarbon reserves have been discovered off Lebanon’s coast. A source at the Presidential Palace told L’Orient Today that the government’s current negotiating objective in the maritime border dispute is to “secure” the Qana gas field, possibly in exchange for granting Israelis full use of the Karish gas field. To date, the Karish gas field has proven its hydrocarbon reserves, whereas the Qana field has not.
Parliamentary consultations to designate a prime minister, initially expected to be held this week, are now scheduled for next Thursday. A spokesperson for President Michel Aoun said the consultations will be held Thursday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Despite analysts saying that caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati is currently the most convenient option for the post, Mikati has expressed his reluctance, earlier this month, to head the future government, saying that he finds the task “difficult … because most of the political discourse revolves around who has a stronger backing than who.”
At its first meeting since parliamentary committees were elected last week, the new Finance and Budget Committee called on the caretaker government to “exceptionally meet” to discuss the 2022 budget and the financial recovery plan. The committee is once again chaired by Ibrahim Kanaan (FPM/Metn), but had some new faces in attendance, including Mark Daou (opposition/Aley) and Firas Hamdan (opposition/Marjayoun-Hasbaya). Neither one is on the committee, instead, Ibrahim Mneimneh (opposition/Beirut) is the only opposition MP in the committee. The 2022 budget has yet to be adopted, as the sixth month of 2022 ticks on.
The municipality of Amchit, north of Jbeil, has halted work on a private coastal chalet, the construction of which could threaten the habitat of endangered Mediterranean monk seals. Work had resumed on the site just days ago, after having been abandoned for months in the face of opposition from local residents. Public access to the coast is a right guaranteed by Lebanese law, and construction may not obstruct the continuity of the shoreline, but private establishments habitually infringe on the commons. There are fewer than 700 Mediterranean monk seals in the world and habitat degradation is one of the dangers threatening this species. At least 80 percent of Lebanon’s coastline is privatized, according to a study by the University of Balamand’s Institute of the Environment.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read article from yesterday: “How Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis found shelter in Beirut.”
Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.The Energy Ministry announced yesterday that it will extend the deadline for energy companies to apply for pre-licenses to explore Lebanon’s offshore territory in search of hydrocarbon deposits. The previous deadline for applying for these pre-licenses expired yesterday, according to a ministry source. In a statement, the ministry...