Spectrum engineers drilling a surface in Batroun area to determine if there's oil underneath. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Lebanon will once again postpone the gas auction which was scheduled for Aug. 10 as some ministers expressed their dissatisfaction over the state's share stated in the decrees, insiders said.But the ministerial committee designated to review the decrees has apparently agreed to open all the offshore 10 blocks for auction so the bidding oil companies can select one or two of these blocks. Some of the ministers wondered why Israel, for example, has set higher royalty and taxes on the oil companies than Lebanon, claiming that the state is giving a making of unnecessary concession to the firms.According to one of the decrees, royalties were set at 4 percent and oil between 5 to 12 percent, which is seen by some experts as far lower than the ceilings set by other countries which have invited oil companies to explore in its territorial waters. Citing an example of other countries that set higher royalties and taxes on oil and gas revenues, the analysts stressed that Israel has an average royalty of 12.5 percent.
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