Abi Khalil points to a map showing the five blocks going up for bid.
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The three partially disputed offshore blocks bordering Israel will be among the five initially up for bidding in Lebanon's first oil and gas licensing round, despite warnings that companies would not be interested in disputed zones.Abi Khalil did not commit to awarding contracts on all five blocks.Abi Khalil said a prequalification round would take place from Feb. 2 to March 31, 2017 and companies will be able to submit their bids on the open blocks before Sept. 15 .Abi Khalil noted that the main objective of launching this first licensing round as to start oil and gas exploration in Lebanese waters and protect Lebanon's maritime wealth.The minister said that some of the blocks that will be opened for bidding in the first tender round are located in the south because Lebanon has the right to benefit from its oil and gas wealth on its southern borders.Abi Khalil said that out of the 52 companies that applied for prequalification in the first licensing round in 2013, 46 were accepted.
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