Lebanon's parliament unanimously ratified a long-awaited energy law on Tuesday paving the way for exploration of major natural gas reserves the country says it has identified off the Mediterranean coast. If reserves are of the quantities envisaged (according to seismic surveys conducted in 2006-2007) the government would receive substantial revenues.

Offshore Cyprus and Lebanon are huge unexplored areas in the eastern Mediterranean. This deepwater area is close to proven offshore hydrocarbon provinces in the Nile Delta and Israel. Until recently, shallow post-salt targets have been the main focus in these areas; however, with recent advances in seismic technology sub-salt plays have been revealed. Petroleum Geo-Services ASA has, in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water, acquired, processed and interpreted the first MC3D seismic data in the area and has published examples of the data acquired from its recent Lebanon MC2D GeoStreamer survey at: http://www.pgs.com.

Ali Hamdan, an aide to the parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, said that Lebanon should be in a position to sign production-sharing agreements with companies by the end of 2011 1.1

It is anticipated that the government will be offering oil and gas companies more than 25,000km2 of prospective acreage located north of the oil and gas producing areas of Gaza and Israel.2