New oil reserves were found off Lebanon's shore along its northern maritime boundary with Cyprus and Syria, which could generate billions of dollars.
According to a report published by Beicip Franlab, a French consultant, there are around 440 million barrels of oil in the area and the quantity could reach 675 million barrels.
Lebanon had previously announced the discovery of offshore gas and oil along the Cypriot-Israeli maritime border.
However, a disputed zone with Israel, which consists of about 854 square kilometers (330 square miles), has delayed the exploitation of oil wealth in the area.
The government has continuously warned that Lebanon will not give up its maritime rights and accuses Israel of violating its waters, territory and air space.
In August 2011, the parliament passed a law setting Lebanon's maritime boundary and Exclusive Economic Zone.
An Nahar newspaper said that the area, according to Franlab's report, also includes around 15 trillion square feet of gas.
Energy Minister Jebran Bassil told the daily that “the discovery constitutes an additional income for Lebanon and would attract important oil exploration companies.”
The minister pointed out that the oil and gas reserves are found in large quantities along Lebanese shores, which indicate that the exploration costs will decrease while the state's financial gains will rise.
He previously said that European, U.S., Chinese and Russian firms had already shown serious interest in drilling off Lebanon's coast.
Bassil told the daily that Lebanon will launch the tenders within the upcoming few days, revealing that there will be more “pleasant news soon” concerning the matter.
The cabinet endorsed plans in January 2012 to implement legislation that will clear the way for offshore oil and gas exploration.