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Lebanon's window of opportunity to explore its hydrocarbon reserves has practically closed.France's Total and Italy's ENI have halted all drilling in Cyprus after three wells showed no commercially exploitable natural gas – the last, ominously, in Block 9 close to the Lebanese EEZ.Much as in Egypt, with its two idle liquid natural gas plants, Cyprus' gas deposits turned out to be exaggerated and unprofitable. Assuming Lebanon has excess and proven gas reserves, one wonders how it can effectively market it's gas without an export venue, regional cooperation and defined customers.No serious dialogue has been undertaken with Cyprus, Egypt or Greece, while Israel has consolidated energy cooperation with all three.To add to Lebanon's woes, the costly deep sea drilling that would be required to explore Lebanon's hydrocarbon reserves are made more difficult by the fact that, today, large energy companies are facing depleted cash reserves. Among companies postponing plans are BP, Shell, Exxon, Statoil, Woodside Petroleum (a leading company in floating natural gas storage) and Total.
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