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Lebanese Oil And Gas: The Great Cover Up!

Oil companies are waiting for the Lebanese Cabinet to pass two decrees related to the model of licensing round and delineation of the offshore gas blocks. (Maersk). Lebanon will miss a golden opportunity to become a major gas producer, as Cyprus, Turkey and Israel prepare plans to drill for natural gas and export it to Europe and Egypt in 2020 or 2022 at the latest. CEOs of major oil companies, foreign energy experts and Cypriot officials have one question every time Lebanon’s name is mentioned in the oil and gas conferences in the island: “When will the Lebanese Cabinet pass the two decrees relating to the model of licensing round and delineation of the offshore gas blocks?” They remark that talk about Lebanon’s role in the future of gas production cannot begin unless the two bills are passed. Most Cypriot officials who talk passionately and relentlessly about the promising future of their island once oil companies start drilling in 2020 lament the fact that Lebanon lags behind most countries in the region in terms of awarding contracts to international oil companies. Gary Lakes, a Cyprus-based energy correspondent very familiar with Lebanon, blames the politicians for the delay in passing the two crucial decrees. “The Lebanese government and politicians have to shape up. They are depriving the Lebanese people of a lot of opportunities. It’s a shame because many companies have shown interest in Lebanon’s potential gas wealth,” Lakes told The Daily Star after a one-day conference on global energy debates and the East Mediterranean that was held in Nicosia.

But Lakes stressed that a lot of international oil companies are still interested in taking part in the licensing round of a competition to award tenders to drill for gas if the Lebanese government passes the two decrees. A “lot of important oil companies were prequalified in the first round and I am sure they will show the same interest once the two decrees are passed and the licensing round has been set. The seismic studies and data collected were very encouraging,” he added. The other issue Lebanon needs to sort out immediately is the row between Lebanon and Israel over a disputed maritime zone close the border of the countries, according to experts. A Cypriot official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Star that his government tried to mediate between Lebanon and Israel to solve this pending issue. “But the Lebanese side told us politely that a powerful country has decided to step in and help reach a solution. I think they were referring to the United States. If they can settle this issue then that is great news,” the official said.

A senior U.S. official told The Daily Star in July that Washington would continue its efforts to end the row between Lebanon and Israel over the maritime zone believed to contain large quantities of natural gas. “Based upon my ongoing discussions with both sides I believe that both Lebanon and Israel wish to resolve the dispute without unnecessary escalation, which is why I will continue to engage both sides on a mutually acceptable resolution,” U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein told The Daily Star in an email. The Lebanese government has proposed that the United Nations can authorize the demarcation of the disputed maritime zone with Israel to determine the boundaries of each country. But Israel has not given a clear answer to this proposal. Cypriot officials say that it is in their interests to see a final agreement reached between Lebanon and Israel, as this will be good news for the region and could speed up the delivery of gas through a pipeline.

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Qatar Is Becoming The New Frontier Of... Modern Art

Relics, the biggest ever show of work by Damien Hirst was recently unveiled in the tiny, energy-rich state of Qatar, in the Persian Gulf. As well as the provocative artist’s spot and spin paintings and his signature medicine cabinets, the show boasted the biggest pickled shark he has ever made, weighing in at a gargantuan 76 tons, and his diamond-encrusted skull, a piece that he once boasted was the most expensive artwork ever made by a living artist. The exhibition was staged in Qatar’s capital Doha, in the Al Riwaq exhibition space, a building which had been covered with coloured dots for the occasion. But that is not all: outside an as-yet-unfinished medical centre, Hirst had placed The Miraculous Journey, a series of 14 massive bronze sculptures charting a foetus from conception to birth. The project cost a reported $20m. The sculptures were seen as highly controversial in Qatar, where shop mannequins still sometimes don’t have heads, because of the Muslim unease with anything figurative. But they were ordered by the sister of the emir, Sheikha Al-Mayassa Al Thani, who is determinedly driving forward a culture programme which challenges traditional notions in the conservative Islamic state. As well as bringing a whole series of keynote exhibitions such as the Hirst to Qatar, the country has also underwritten exhibitions abroad. In 2010 it funded an exhibition by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami in Versailles, which infuriated French purists, who felt that the artist’s colourful pop-meets-manga style was totally at odds with the graceful interiors of the hallowed palace. And last year Qatar stepped up to the plate for Hirst, underwriting his exhibition at Tate Modern. Each show was followed up by an even splashier rendering in Doha: Murakami last year, and Hirst now. Sheikha Al-Mayassa is not just sponsoring exhibitions. She is best known for being the biggest art buyer in the world, paying colossal sums to snap up the top artworks available on the market: some estimates suggest she is spending up to $1bn a year on art, although this figure may be exaggerated. Qatar never comments on its acquisitions, and all those who work with the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), which is headed by the sheikha, sign stringent confidentiality contracts.

How Much Do Lebanese MPs Make?

The records of the finance ministry clearly indicate how much we pay them to make our lives miserable. The president of the republic is paid a monthly salary of 18,750,000 Lebanese Liras (LL) ($12,500), ie LL225,000,000 ($150,000) annually. The parliamentary speaker and prime minister receive LL17,737,000 ($11,824) a month (LL212,844,000 million - $141,896 annually). Each minister receives LL12,937,000 ($8,625) a month (LL212,844,000 - $103,496 annually). Each MP gets LL12,750,000 ($8,500) a month (LL153,000,000 - $102,000). The total yearly salaries of the president, speaker, prime minister, the ministers, and MPs reaches 24 billion and 892 thousand Lebanese Lira ($16.6 million). Then come the “extra” benefits. Each MP receives LL2.7 million every month from the Parliamentary Solidarity Fund (financed through deputy contributions of LL100,000 a month, and the rest from the state budget). The total for all deputies is LL4,147 million ($2.77 million). In addition, each deputy receives LL100 million ($67,000) yearly from the public works ministry. The total for this is LL12 billion and 800 million. Several former and current ministers and deputies consider this to be one of the worst governments in terms of productivity. This raises the total paid for officials to do (or not do) their work to around LL41.84 billion ($28 million) a year. A study by Information International indicates that former MPs receive lifelong compensation and benefits. When they die, their salaries go to their families (there are 310 living former deputies and 103 deceased). This category receives 55 percent of the salary of current deputies, for those who “served” for one full term. It becomes 65 percent after two full terms and 75 percent for three terms and above. MPs who die during their first term are considered to have served three terms.

How To Buy Property In Dubai

Dev Mitra, CEO of Indigo Properties, shares 7 tips to help you make sure you’re dealing with the right developer.

1. Visit the company’s website. Gain insights into the company you are about to sign with. It is important that you know what its history is, who the owners, partners and associates are, how long the company has been around, its ongoing projects and so on.
2. Visit completed projects. Make a visit to the developer’s completed projects to see the styles, finishings and layouts. Seeing is believing, as the saying goes.
3. Talk to existing owners. There is nothing better than a recommendation or unbiased insights from someone who has already been in your situation. A small chat with an existing property owner can reveal a host of pros and cons.
4. Visit social media platforms/other online research. The internet is a great source of information: be sure to have a look at what feedback others have had when working with the developer. Take a look at the developer’s latest news, achievements, events and promotions.
5. Face-to-face meeting. Talking to a sales representative in person can help you clarify any doubts and queries you may have. The representative should be able to inform you of all of the details regarding the laws, finance, insurance and much more to do with property in Dubai. This is also a great way to see what the after-sale service will be like and to have a look inside the office.

10 Things To Know About The Saudi Equities Market

If you are – or want to be – an investor, we’re guessing you’re probably seriously eyeing the Kingdom’s bourse right about now. Since we can’t let you fly blind, here’s a quick ten-point Saudi equities primer from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) for you to make an informed decision:

1. The highly diversified market has 169 listed companies across 15 different sectors. It is the largest stock market in the Mena region.
2. It has an average daily liquidity of more than $2.3bn, making it the seventh largest and the fourth most liquid market among the GEMs (global emerging markets).
3. The opening of the market paves the way for Saudi Arabia to be included in the MSCI emerging markets index by 2017. This should help it attract $13.7bn in flows. Currently, it is considered a frontier market (i.e., too small to be in the emerging category).
4. Approximately 90 per cent of the market is dominated by Saudi retail investors right now. Only three per cent of daily trading volumes are accounted for by foreign institutional investors (FIIs), who currently own less than two per cent of the market via swaps and P-notes. S&P sees their heightened involvement potentially reducing the volatility at Tadawul.
5. Only experienced and well-capitalised financial institutions – qualified foreign intermediates (QFIs) with $5bn of assets under management (AUM) to be reduced to $3bn at the Capital Markets Authority’s (CMA) discretion – have direct access to the market. The investor must also have five years of investment experience and must be a brokerage, fund managing or bank insurance company. Non-Saudi or GCC entities are prevented from taking majority stakes in listed companies.
6. Other regulations stipulate that QFI clients only use one QFI at a time; institutions are not to hold positions via swaps and there are also restrictions with respect to ownership limits that seek to keep majority ownership in regional hands.
7. Foreign investors will be allowed to participate in initial public offerings (IPOs) and the CMA has stated that it would like the majority of IPOs to be pipelined to institutional investors.

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