Lebanon's information minister says the Cabinet has approved licenses for three international companies to carry out exploratory drilling off the Lebanese coast.
Melhem Riachi told reporters after a government meeting on Thursday that all Cabinet members approved the move and said "this is a great wealth for Lebanon."
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The licenses will allow Italy's Eni, France's Total and Russia's Novatek that bid for two of Lebanon's 10 offshore blocks to determine whether oil and gas exist in the area.
Oil Minister Cesar Abi Khalil tweeted "congratulations to Lebanon for the approval of the oil license and Lebanon's entering the oil countries club."