The Lebanese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday confirmed the country's "full right" to exploit all the oil and gas resources within its maritime economic zones, stressing the need for a UN demarcation of the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.
However, a diplomatic source said the mandate of UN peacekeepers operating in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) is limited to border control patrols and not to draw the maritime border between the two states. These developments come after Israel announced the the discovery of large quantities of gas in the sea. Lebanon claims that part of the gas is located withing its economic zone.
A source IN Beirut said that Lebanon had dispatched to the United Nations maps showing the southern borders of the economic zone based on a law from 1982. The International Maritime Convention Law of 1982 allowed states to maintan the sovereign right to exploit natural resources within the exclusive economic zone.
The Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali Al-Shami last night sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regarding the southern boundaries of Lebanon's economic zone and stressed his country's right to exploit fully the oil wealth that lies within this zone.
Israel announced on 29 December 2010 the results of prospecting and exploration for gas in the "Leviata" field northwest of Haifa in the area adjacent to the borders of the Lebanese waters. The results indicate the field contains 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, i.e. the equivalent of 453 billion cubic meters, a figure estimated to be nearly 80 percent higher of gas discovered in another field ("Tamar"), which is located at a distance of 47 kilometers from south-east.