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Natural gas field in Israel (archives)
Photo: Noble Energy
Lebanon: Israel capable of stealing our gas
Lebanese energy minister calls for urgent parliamentary session to discuss 'technological threat' on his country's natural gas reserves
Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Bassil called for an urgent parliamentary session over the weekend to discuss the Israeli "threat" on his country's natural gas reserves.

 

Bassil was referring to reports in Israel about the discovery of the Karish ("Shark") gas field off the shores of the northern city of Nahariya.

 

The minister presented reporters with a map and stated that Israel could "theoretically" place a gas pipe and pull the gas "located 4 kilometers (2.5 miles)" from Lebanon's natural gas wells, thanks to its advanced technological abilities.

 

Bassil urged the government to take every step necessary to mark Lebanon's maritime border with Cyprus and Israel. The Lebanese government had called on the United Nations to do so in the past, but it appears the UN is unwilling to intervene in the matter.

 

"We are not saying a crisis has taken place, but we must take all measures to prevent Israel from getting hold of our gas in the future," Bassil was quoted as saying.

 

Israel would be able to dig horizontally. By doing that, it could reach the proven wells in Lebanon," Bassil said.

 

"So if it drilled vertically and there was overlap between the Israeli and Lebanese fields, Lebanese gas could be pulled towards Israel. But this is still unproven."

 

Gas and oil legislation in Lebanon is at a standstill at the moment due to political disputes. The current government is temporary, and according to Lebanese experts, only a new government accepted by all parties in the country will be able to advance legislation on the matter.

 

Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.

 

Reuters contributed to this report

 

 

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