New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) ONGC’s overseas arm OVL will bid for blocks in Lebanon’s first oil and gas exploration and production licensing round, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) was pre-qualified to bid as an operator for five offshore blocks (1,4,8,9 and 10).

Pradhan, who is leading a delegation to the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, in a Twitter post said he held a bilateral meeting with Lebanese Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil on the sidelines of the conference.

“The meeting was important in the context of @ongcvideshltd participation in the upcoming bid round for offshore gas fields in Lebanon,” he said in another tweet.

Besides OVL, Lebanon has pre-qualified 12 other companies including Chevron, Total and Exxon Mobil as operators for the bid round that has been stalled for years due to political uncertainty.

More than three dozen companies have been pre-qualified as non-operators for the bid round. These companies have to submit their bids to the Lebanese Petroleum Administration on September 15.

The blocks on offer include three bordering Israeli water.

Lebanon, along with Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, sits on the Levant basin in the Mediterranean where gas fields have been discovered since 2009.

Other companies pre-qualified as operators include Petrobras of Brazil, Total of France, Italy’s Eni, Petronas of Malaysia, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil of Norway, Repsol of Spain, Inpex of Japan, Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Non-operators include Cairn India and Cairn Energy of UK.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.