Cesar Abi Khalil speaks during a conference in Beirut, Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Lebanon's economy is expected to improve even before offshore gas and oil exploration at the beginning of 2019, Energy and Water Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said Wednesday. A consortium of France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek has signed agreements for offshore oil and gas exploration and production in block 4 and the much disputed block 9 near the maritime border with Israel. Abi Khalil also added that for each job being created in the oil sector, 11 more will be created in supporting sectors.A second offshore licensing round would be held once the first commercially viable discovery was made, Abi Khalil said.Of the sovereign wealth fund that is expected to utilize future oil revenues to invest in development projects, the minister said: "It is true that the offshore petroleum resources law states that all the proceeds from this sector should be injected into the sovereign wealth fund.
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