Concerned about possible Israeli encroachment upon recently discovered offshore natural gas fields, Lebanon’s Parliament has passed draft legislation demarcating its maritime borders with Israel.
The 18-article law was drafted in the Parliament’s Public Works, Transport, Energy and Water Committee, headed by MP Mohammad Qabbani, The Daily Star reported.
At issue are two massive offshore natural gas fields, Tamar and Leviathan, off Israel's northern city of Haifa, where initial prospecting estimates have concluded that the pair of sites between them could hold as much as 688 billion cubic meters of extractable natural gas.
On Thursday President Michel Sleiman told visiting delegations at Beiteddine Palace, the presidential summer residence, “We will not allow anyone to lay his hand on our wealth, which our children and grandchildren deserve. We will not only pass debts to them but also a wealth that will guarantee them a better future so that they remain in Lebanon.”
In July tensions rose after Israel's cabinet approved a map of the country's proposed maritime borders with Lebanon and submitted it for meditation to the United Nations, which conflicts with a map submitted in 2010 by Lebanon to the UN that gives Israel less territory. Beirut maintains that their map is in line with an armistice accord drawn up in 1949 and not contested by Israel as well as challenging Israel's assertion that a 2007 accord between Cyprus and Lebanon sets the same boundaries as those agreed between Israel and Cyprus last year.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com