Indian energy company ONGC Videsh will bid in an upcoming auction to explore and develop gas fields off the coast of Lebanon, India’s oil minister said on Monday. ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm of India’s top explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp, is among several companies prequalified to bid for offshore exploration and production licences from the Middle Eastern nation. Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, leading a delegation at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, made the comment in a Tweet after meeting with Lebanese Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abou Khalil. “The meeting was important in the context of ONGC Videsh’s participation in the upcoming bid round for offshore gas fields in Lebanon,” Pradhan said.
The bidding process for offshore blocks 1, 4, 8, 9 and 10, three of which border Israeli waters, was postponed for years because of political paralysis in Lebanon until the formation of a new government late last year. Lebanon, along with Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, sits on the Levant basin in the Mediterranean where gas fields have been discovered since 2009. Other companies prequalified to bid include Qatar Petroleum, Britain-based New Age African Global Energy and Iran’s Petropars.