The Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) is the government’s executive body responsible for tendering major projects, procuring financing for these projects, and supervising their execution. Major projects lie in transportation, electricity, telecommunications, education, solid and water waste. These projects are listed at http://www.cdr.gov.lb. CDR, in coordination with the concerned ministries, launches these projects.
In September 2011, the parliament passed an emergency $1.2 billion bill to boost electricity production by 700 MW. This created significant investment opportunities for international companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Additional opportunities for private sector participation in the power sector are associated with the government’s policy paper for the electricity sector, endorsed by the cabinet in June 2010. The strategy aims to gradually reach 4000 MW generation capacity in Lebanon in 2014, though this target date may not be realistic according to energy experts because of potential delays in contract implementation and the difficulties in acquiring additional energy from neighboring countries given current domestic and regional developments. Implementation will cost $4.87 billion, to be partly financed by the government (32 percent), by private sector investment (48 percent), and international donor lending (20 percent). The long-term plan includes expanding generation capacity to 5000 MW after 2015 to meet increased demand; this plan will be implemented through Independent Power Producer (IPP) modality (private sector investment) and the tender for contracting an international consultant to prepare this plan has been launched. The Ministry of Energy and Water is also expected to invest millions of dollars for dams, water and waste water projects in the coming few years. For more information about electricity and water projects, visit the Ministry of Energy and Water website at http://www.energyandwater.gov.lb.
Significant investment opportunities also exist in Lebanon’s offshore oil and gas exploration. In 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas in the Levant Basin Province, which includes waters shared by Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and the Republic of Cyprus. On April 30, 2013, the Ministry of Energy and Water launched the first licensing round for the offshore oil and gas exploration projects with a November 4 deadline for submission of bids. Forty-six international companies, including four U.S. firms, were shortlisted to participate in Lebanon’s offshore exploration. Bid contracts are projected to be signed in February/March 2014; however, the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati in March 2013 and the‘` delay in forming a new cabinet could potentially push back this timetable. More information about Lebanon’s oil and gas opportunities can be found at www.Lebanon-exploration.com.